By Jack Books
The St George Illawarra Dragons Junior Representative squads went head-to-head in a pre-season trial derby match at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Club’s respective St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers Harold Matthews Cup (U16) and SG Ball (U18) teams contested the matches in three 30-35 minute thirds.
Due to the short play time, no conversions or penalty goals were allowed in any of the games.
For many players, this was their last opportunity to prove themselves with coaches and staff making their final selections for both squads ahead of the new seasons.
The Harold Matthews Cup squads started proceedings and it was the Steelers who dominated throughout each third of gameplay.
An early Dragons knock on saw the Steelers go in for an early try and from thereon in they maintained their advantage.
Unfortunately, too many errors, including knock-ons and penalties, plagued both sides but a strong defence kept the Steelers on top of the scoreboard throughout the game.
While the Dragons were able to pick up their game in the second half, keeping the score level, Illawarra’s intensity and strong defence led to a 28-4 win.
The SG Ball kicked off afterwards and both teams brought their best to the field.
Some early knock-ons, including one at kick-off, were quickly dismissed with some heavy hits and smart football.
The first third produced another Steelers whitewash, with the team scoring three tries.
However, the Dragons returned in the second third with intensity and determination, only to go down in the final third and ultimately losing 28-20.