Round 23 v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 32-18 winners over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites outscored their local rivals five tries to three, with local Gerringon Lions junior Tariq Sims bagging a double.
Head Coach Paul McGregor had made only the one positional change prior to kick-off with utility Jake Marketo named as starting hooker in place of Mitch Rein who reverted to the interchange bench.
Unfrotunately, the Sharks opened the scoring in the third minute, when winger Valentine Holmes intercepted a Jake Marketo pass intended for Benji Marshall to score under the posts.
Sharks five-eighth James Maloney converted to make it 6-0.
Having just knocking the ball on close to the line, fullback Josh Dugan made up for it two minutes later with a massive try saving tackle on winger Sosaia Feki.
The Dragons quickly hit back, with centre Euan Aitken plucking a Benji Marshall kick across field to score despite several players around him.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop converted the try to level the scores up at 6-all.
The Sharks shifted the ball close to the home side's line near the halfhour mark and opened up an overlap, before fullback Ben Barba ran 50 metres to score out wide to give the visitors a four point lead.
Sharks five-eighth James Maloney convertesd a penalty minutes before the interval.
The Dragons came out switched on in the second half, with a shift out to the left setting hooker Mitch Rein up for his second try of the season.
Widdop slotted the conversion to level the scores with half an hour remaining.
The Red-and-Whites took the lead in the 54th minute with a converted try, with front rower Tariq Sims pouncing on a Widdop grubber kick.
Widdop made short work of the kick, for a six point lead.
Sims added a further four-pointer to his resume moments later after charging onto de Belin's ball to make it 22-12.
Widdop converted to make it 24-12.
The visitors hit back though, with fullback Ben Barba throwing a looping pass over the top for centre Ricky Leutele.
The Sharks soon added a further two points when Maloney converted a penalty kick in the 69th minute.
The celebration was short lived however when Widdop crossed the stripe in the closing minutes of the game.
The England international then converted to make it 30-18.
Widdop added a penalty goal with under a minute remaining to give the Dragons a 14 point win.