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KOE Cup Dragons narrowly fall to Mounties

By Anthony Eltarraf

Mounties hosted the St George Illawarra Dragons at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Sunday afternoon, securing a 41-40 victory over the Red V in a 14-try thriller.

Mounties started the game strongly with five-eighth Brad Abbey opening the scoring, crashing over the line to give his side an early six-point lead.

The home side’s lead was soon doubled when Dane Aukafolau crossed for his fourth try of the season.

A dramatic momentum shift saw the Dragons follow up with five unanswered tries in just 12 minutes, with the spine stepping up and leading the way for the visitors. They included two tries to halfback Jayden Sullivan who burst through holes on both occasions, a try to five-eighth Zach Herring who sliced through in similar fashion, and another for star fullback Tyrell Sloan when he strolled downfield after another Dragons line-break.

The fifth try came through Poasa Faamausili, who barged his way over the line after a quick play-the-ball to give the Dragons a 28-10 lead.

With just a few minutes remaining in the half, Mounties responded to the Dragons’ rapid fire scoring with a try for interchange forward Mitchell Butfield, before adding another to their tally through Tui Katoa. The try brought the halftime deficit to 28-22.

Momentum swung back and forth throughout the game, but the Dragons pulled it back their way again by scoring from the first set of the second half through back-rower Jackson Ford, dotting down near the posts.

With Mounties desperate for tries, winger Watson Heleta stepped up to score two in four minutes, showcasing his strength and agility to get over the line and plant the ball down.

The Dragons appeared to have secured the win after Zach Herring scored his second try of the afternoon. However Mounties levelled the game yet again after Ben Seufale scored what was the 14th try of the game.

Both sides had kicked six from seven conversions to lock the scores at 40-all, but with two minutes remaining Brad Abbey slotted a field goal to secure Mounties one-point victory in a thrilling contest at Aubrey Keech Reserve.

Talking Points

Despite the outstanding attack on show, both sides struggled in defensively to concede seven tries apiece. The two teams will need to improve in that area if they are to match it with those higher up the table.

Brad Abbey led Mounties to victory against the Dragons in the unfamiliar five-eighth role, remaining vocal throughout the game on top of scoring a try and kicking the match-winning field goal.

Key Moment

With two minutes remaining, good game management by Mounties’ halves allowed Brad Abbey a quality opportunity to decide the game, and he took it with both hands to secure the win off the boot.

What's next?

Mounties face the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in Round 16, while the Dragons host the Raiders in what promises to be an entertaining matchup.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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