Dragons Hold Warriors Scoreless
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 36-0 winners over the New Zealand Warriors at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites scored six tries in the impressive victory whilst five-eighth Gareth Widdop six goals.
Head Coach Paul McGregor was forced to make several changes to the line-up announced midweek including one prior to kick-off after winger Dylan Farrell injured himself during warm-up.
Fellow Dragons winger Justin Hunt shifted into the vacated flanker’s role and was joined by utility Peter Mata’utia on the other wing after shifting in for the omitted Yaw Kiti Glymin.
Dragons utility Will Matthews slotted into the three-quarter position whilst prop Jack de Belin started in the forward-pack in lieu of Ben Creagh who shifted back to the interchange.
The reshuffle of personnel amongst their ranks did not seem to deter the visitors in the opening stages of the encounter as they seized an early four-point lead six minutes into the match.
Dragons halfback Benji Marshall had been the orchestrator of the try, throwing a pin-point cut-out pass out to his far-right and into the hands of winger Justin Hunt to collect and dive across the stripe.
Unfortunately, the visitors were soon dealt two unexpected blows when both centre Will Matthews (dislocated shoulder) and Marshall (hamstring) were forced to leave the field due to respective injuries.
The Dragons though showed their resilience and were undeterred by the setback as they soon managed to double their advantage through a nifty dummy-run by hooker Mitch Rein near the posts in the 23rd minute.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop converted soon thereafter to make it 10-0.
The visitors recommenced the second-half in positive fashion with a stunning four-pointer courtesy of the aerial acrobatics of utility Jake Marketo in the 45th minute.
Widdop added the extras to make it 16-0.
The Dragons breached the hosts’ defence a further three times before the hour mark with centre Peter Mata’utia, second-rower Tyson Frizell and Widdop all getting their respective names on the score sheet.
The England international converted two of his three attempts at the tee to make extend the lead out to 32-0.
The Dragons were awarded successive penalties in the closing quarter of the fixture following infringements to both prop Leeson Ah Mau and hooker Craig Garvey.
Widdop converted both two-point opportunities to make it 36-0.
St George Illawarra Dragons 36. Tries: Hunt, Rein, Marketo, Mata’utia, Widdop, Frizell. Goals: Widdop (4/6). Penalty Goal: Widdop (2/2).
New Zealand Warriors 0.