NYC Round 15 v Melbourne Storm
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 38-30 winners over the Melbourne Storm at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored seven tries in the high-scoring victory with winger Reuben Garrick clinching an individual hat trick and fullback Paora Kemp a double.
Head Coach Mat Head had made several changes to the line-up announced midweek headlined by Kemp slotting into the custodian’s role in lieu of Matt Dufty.
Furthermore, centre Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards and hooker Ali Allouche were both elevated to the starting side where they replaced Matheson Johns and Reece Robson respectively.
Fellow utility Dante Efaraimo and prop Matt Jurd earned late selection to the interchange where they joined TJ Uele and Max Bailey.
The home team had entered the encounter undefeated from six previous outings but found themselves trailing early on through the swift feet of Storm centre Jacob Tonge.
Storm fullback Jesse Arthars then converted to make it 6-0.
The hosts though rallied and seized a healthy lead with four tries in quick succession midway through the period.
Dragons second-rower Luciano Leilua had been the first across the stripe with a powerful barge over before some individual footwork by Kemp got his name on the scoresheet.
This was then followed-up by the rapid speed of Garrick who dove over the line before Allouche got in on the action in the 25th minute.
Dragons five-eighth Jai Field converted two of his four attempts and made it 20-6.
The home side notched a further two unanswered four-pointers just shy of the interval with both Kemp and Garrick banking individual doubles.
Field converted both his attempts and made it 32-6.
The hosts resumed scoring proceedings following on from the break with Garrick securing a well-deserved hat trick through some acrobatics on the right flank.
Field added the extras and make it 38-6.
However, the visitors road blocked an eighth uncontested strike with two succinct four-pointers of their own courtesy of centre Rory Parker prop Josh Kerr moments later.
This was followed-up by five-eighth Scott Drinkwater and second-rower Charlie Galo both etching their respective names on to the score sheet in the final ten minutes of play.
Arthars kicked all four goal attempts and made it 38-30.
Fortunately, the Dragons held on despite the second-half salvo mission by the visitors and claimed a further two valuable competition points.
St George Illawarra Dragons 38. Tries: Garrick (3), Kemp (2), Leilua, Allouche. Goals: Bailey (5/7).
Melbourne Storm 30. Tries: Tonge, Parker, Kerr, Drinkwater, Galo. Goals: Arthars (5/5).