The young St George Illawarra Dragons have recorded a strong 46-24 victory over the Melbourne Storm at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday afternoon.
The Dragons drew first blood nine minutes in when lock forward Joe Lovodua found space out wide to score in the corner. Zac Lomax converted from the sideline to give the Dragons an early 6-0 advantage.
Melbourne's Dale Madden proved unstoppable close to the line, to get his side on the board. Storm fullback Jesse Arthars converted to level the score at six.
The Storm looked set to score again but a wayward pass was intercepted by Dragons centre Reuben Garrick who ran 90 metres to score under the posts. Lomax converted to give the Red V a 12-6 converted try lead.
Eleven minutes from half-time, Melbourne hit back when centre Sale Finau found space on the left flank to score. The conversion attempt however, was unsuccessful, and the Dragons held a slim 12-10 lead.
In the shadows of half-time, halfback Jackson Willis caught the Storm defence napping when he strolled through to score adjacent to the posts. Lomax converted to give the Red V a handy 18-10 advantage.
From a 20-metre restart, a good run from Garrick saw him pass on to Willis to run 40 metres to score his second try of the day. Lomax was unsuccessful with the conversion, as the home side headed to the sheds with a 22-10 lead.
Six minutes into the second half, the Dragons received a penalty about 30 metres out. The Red V opted for the two points, with Lomax stretching the Dragons' lead out to a 14-point lead.
Soon after, Willis made light work of the Melbourne defence as he strolled through to secure a hat-trick under the posts. The try was converted by Lomax, to give the Dragons a commanding 20-point lead.
Willis was having a game to remember when he kicked across field for winger Jason Gillard to score next.
The Storm hit back when winger Harlan Collins scored in the corner but Dragons five-eighth Tristan Sailor quickly responded when he scored under the posts to make it an unreachable 40-14 lead.
Two consolation tries for the Storm through Jacob Tonge and Matthew Egan rounded out the away team's scoring, before Garrick scored at the death to secure the 22-point win.
St George Illawarra Dragons 46 (Jackson Willis 3, Reuben Garrick 2, Joseph Lovodua, , Jason Gillard, Tristan Sailor tries, Zac Lomax 7 goals) defeated Melbourne Storm 24 (Dale Madden, Sale Finau, Harlan Collins, Jacob Tonge, Matthew Egan tries, Jesse Arthars 2 goals) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong. Half-time: Dragons 22-10.