Dragons Clawed By Tigers
The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 22-4 by Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday.
The Red-and-Whites managed only the one try in the defeat with centre Dane Nielsen crossing the stripe prior to halftime.
Head Coach Paul McGregor had been forced to make several changes to the line-up announced midweek following the omissions of both captain Ben Creagh and fullback Josh Dugan through injury.
Dragons prop Jack de Belin started in the vacant lock-forward position whilst utility Peter Mata’utia was named as replacement custodian.
Furthermore, hooker Heath L’Estrange was a late addition to the interchange bench for his debut game for the visitors whilst winger Jason Nightingale was named replacement skipper.
The visitors found themselves on the back foot from the first whistle and were unable to absorb the attacking pressure being inflicted upon them by the home side.
The hosts’ efforts were ultimately rewarded with a four-pointer to Tigers winger Kevin Naiqama in the sixth minute.
Yet, the visitors did not learn from their defensive mistakes and were left ruing Tigers fullback James Tedesco’s plant in the 14th minute.
The Tigers custodian had been the beneficiary of halfback Luke Brooks neat grubber ten metres from the try line and had wasted no time getting his hands on the ball.
The homeside continued their scoring momentum with two further converted tries courtesy of winger Pat Richards midway through the opening stanza.
Despite the points onslaught inflicted upon them, the visitors managed to rally and score their first points of the game two minutes shy of the interval.
Dragons centre Dane Nielsen was the man-of-the-minute and crossed over the stripe, having been supported in the build-up by both hooker Heath L’Estrange and fullback Peter Mata’utia.
The Dragons commenced the second-half of play with positive vigour but were unable to convert their attacking opportunities into points.
Dragons winger Eto Nabuli proved amongst the most threatening on the left-flank with several powerful runs only to be thwarted time and again by opposite number Naiqama.
Unfortunately, prop Rory O’Brien was penalised six minutes from time with Tigers captain Robbie Farah opting for the tee.
Richards made short work in front of the posts to make it 22-4.
St George Illawarra Dragons 4. Tries: Nielsen. Goals: Widdop (0/1).
Wests Tigers 22. Tries: Richards (2), Naiqama, Tedesco. Goals: Richards (2/4). Penalty Goal: (1/1).