Dragons survive Sea Eagles scare
The St George Illawarra Dragons have survived an early second half scare to produce a 52-22 win over the Manly Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday afternoon.
The Dragons started the game off nicely when a Josh McCrone bomb landed nicely in the hands of Jason Nightingale, who lunged over for the game's first in the eighth minute.
Nightingale looked good for his second try in the 15th minute but would miss a Gareth Widdop bomb, only for Tim Lafai to pick up the scraps and score out wide.
Skipper Widdop scored the Dragons' next when he intercepted a Daly Cherry-Evans pass and raced 90 metres to post further points in the 26th minute.
Euan Aikten's effort in the 33rd minute followed when he capitalised on a Nene Macdonald slap back of another McCrone bomb.
The Dragons rounded out the first half scoring through Jacob Host to put the Red V up 30-0 at the break.
The Sea Eagles started the second half in enormous fashion when Dylan Walker slammed the ball down two minutes into the stanza.
Darcy Lussick's sin-binning for punching Jack de Belin didn't prevent Manly's mini-comeback as his little brother Joey scored on debut in the 48th minute.
Jake Trbojevic scored three minutes later and Akuila Uate scored again soon after that to put the Sea Eagles back within eight points.
A clutch catch from Nene Macdonald finally helped the Dragons wrestle possession back which led to Paul Vaughan scoring midway through the second half.
This was followed up three minutes by NRL debutant Matt Dufty who put Jason Nightingale over in the corner for his second try of the game.
Euan Aitken had his second try in the 67th minute but would quickly leave the field due to a shoulder injury.
Dufty capped off his NRL debut with a try of his own in the final minute to secure the 30-point victory.
St George Illawarra Dragons 52 (Jason Nightingale 2, Euan Aikten 2, Tim Lafai, Gareth Widdop, Jacob Host, Paul Vaughan, Matt Dufty tries; Gareth Widdop 8 goals) defeated Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22 (Dylan Walker, Joey Lussick, Jake Trbojevic, Akuila Uate tries; Daly Cherry-Evans 2, Jackson Hastings 1 goals) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong. Half-time: Dragons 30-0. Crowd: 16, 883