Young Dragons Secure First Win
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 46-36 winners over the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored nine tries to secure their first win of the season with notable doubles to Ryan James, Will Tom and Matt Dufty respectively.
Head Coach Ben Hornby had made minor positional changes to the line-up announced midweek with prop Jay Gallagher elevated to the starting forward-pack in lieu of the omitted Heheako Tuima.
The Young Dragons proved the most adapt to the wet and windy conditions when play commenced and scored the opening four-pointer through second-rower Ryan James in the second minute.
However, the lead was to be short lived as the home side rallied and evened-up proceedings minutes later through five-eighth Brock Lamb.
The hosts built off this momentum to seize the lead when hooker Danny Levi burrowed himself across the stripe in the 15th minute.
Lamb converted to make it 10-4.
Yet, the visitors replied six minutes later through winger Will Tom who had been the beneficiary of halfback Adam Cune’s cut-out pass far left.
Dragons winger Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga converted to make it 10-all.
The Knights though were quick to recompose themselves and restored the lead with three late tries to the prize a substantial lead at halftime.
The hosts first try came through Levy’s second of the encounter just shy of the half hour mark before centres Josh Birch and Braden Robson followed suit minutes later.
Lamb converted one of his three attempts to make it 24-10.
The Dragons were the quickest off the mark following the interval and managed to peg the point deficit back to two points by the 49th minute.
The Dragons banked their first try three minutes into play resuming courtesy of James, who charged and barged his way over for his second of the fixture.
This was followed-up by fullback Matt Dufty’s etching his name on the score sheet after chasing down Clune’s neat line-break dash and subsequent chip-kick moments later.
Aufaga-Toomaga converted both attempts to make it 24-22.
The visitors reclaimed the lead moments before the hour mark through Aufaga-Toomaga who made it 26-24.
The Dragons continued this momentum minutes later when prop Jack Kavanagh bypassed his marker to score and make it 28-26.
However, their defensive efforts were thwarted by the hosts when prop Faitotoa Faitotoa capitalised off a Dufty handling error to score in the 65th minute.
Lamb converted to even the game at 30-all.
But the lead was short-lived as the visitors staged a two-try salvo courtesy of Tom and Dufty in the closing minutes of the match.
Aufaga-Toomaga converted his second attempt at the tee to make it 4030.
The Knights scored a consolatory try through winger Brody Lam to keep the game competitive in the 77th minute.
Lamb converted to make it 40-36.
Fortunately the Dragons managed to extend their lead through five-eighth Drew Hutchison in the final minute of the game.
Aufaga-Toomaga converted to make it 46-36.
St George Illawarra Dragons 44. Tries: James (2), Tom (2), Dufty (2), Aufaga-Toomaga, Kavanagh, Hutchison. Goals: Aufaga-Toomaga (4/8).
Newcastle Knights 36. Tries: Levi (2), Lamb, Robson, Birch, Faitotoa, Lam. Goals: Lamb (4/7).