The St George Illawarra Dragons have today lost their opening round of the Rangitoto Pool clash at the Auckland Nines 18-7 to the Newcastle Knights at Eden Park.
New recruit Eto Nabuli opened the scoring for the Dragons in 2015 with a bonus try under the posts after Heath L’Estrange and Jason Nightingale created an overlap on the right to send the Flying Fijian away.
Josh Dugan converted with the drop goal to give the Dragons the early 7-0 lead but it was the Knights who scored the rest of the points for the match.
The Knights hit-back with two tries to Jake Mamo and Dane Gagai respectively off the back of kicks in behind from half Jarrod Mullen. Tyronne Roberts missed both conversions and the Knights took the narrow one point lead into the half-time break, 8-7.
It was Mullen and Mamo for the Knights in the second half with Mullen firstly kicking down the centre of the field and Mamo raced through to score with no fullback in place for the Dragons.
An attempted charge-down from another Mullen kick fell the Knights way with the Knights shifting the ball wide for Mamo to cross in the corner. Mullen was successful with their fourth and final conversion attempt to take the win 18-7.
The Dragons next pool match is against the Sea Eagles who were defeated 22-17 by the Eels in the opening match of the day.
Knights 18 defeated Dragons 7.
Tries: Mamo 3, Gagai