St George Illawarra have overcome an almighty scare to maintain their flawless start to their 2022 campaign, beating Parramatta 16-10 at CommBank Stadium on Sunday.
Centre Page McGregor produced a masterclass in attack and defence while Teagan Berry maintained her try-scoring efforts as the Dragons grabbed their second win of the season.
It was a gallant performance from the Eels, who frustrated the visitors for most of the contest with Gayle Broughton and Tiana Penitani starring for the home side.
The Red V drew first blood when young centre Keele Browne danced through Parramatta's defence to crash over the line in the 15th minute.
The Dragons extended their lead four minutes later when Taliah Fuimaono and Emma Tonegato linked up to send McGregor over next to the posts.
Tonegato and McGregor combine
The Eels steadied and hit back in the 24th minute when Broughton took the ball to the line and found a powering Penitani, who turned the Dragons' defence inside out before running 30m to open the scoring for the hosts.
Five minutes later and the former rugby sevens stars combined again to score in nearly the exact same fashion, but this time it was Broughton who crashed over for her first NRLW try on the stroke of half-time.
Broughton and Penitani look unstoppable
The ebbs and flows continued into the second half but the Dragons hit back 15 minutes into the term when Berry found the line to put the visitors back in the lead at 12-10.
With the Eels gaining confidence and creating plenty of chances it was McGregor who scored on the left edge to cement the win for Jamie Soward's side.
Match: Eels v Dragons
Round 2 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
- The Dragons lost second-rower Talei Holmes to a game-ending knee injury 22 minutes into the first half.
- Teagan Berry scored her eighth career try to become remain joint leading NRLW try-scorer.
- Tiana Penitani was a powerhouse for the Eels running 186 metres, and chalking up one try and try-assist.
- It was a tough day at the office for Dragons halfback Rachael Pearson who failed all four conversion attempts - leaving eight points on the table.
- St George Illawarra covered a large amount of distance with, Emma Tonegato (151 metres), Holli Wheeler (132 metres) and Teagan Berry (125).
- Eels Skipper Simaima Taufa was enormous in defence for the hosts making 33 tackles.
Play of the Game
Among a host of stars for the Dragons centre Page McGregor cemented the win for the Dragons with a barnstorming try in the second half. Desperate to extend their lead, the 23-year-old finished off some ad-lib footy for the Red V, with the ball going through several sets of hands before the star No. 4 scored on the left edge for her second.
Quick hands give McGregor her second
What they said
"Coming in we knew the Eels were going to be desperate and sometimes when you don't play your best you have to fight and be gritty. I think there are some lessons there of course on video when we cut it up." - Dragons coach Jamie Soward.
NRLW Dragons: Round 2
"I feel we walk away with a lot of boxes ticked. The two points would've been fantastic to take with us but it was more the performance and attitude we can build off. They gave everything and more." - Eels coach Dean Widders.
NRLW Eels: Round 2
The Dragons will make history next week when they take part in the opening of the brand-new Allianz Stadium in round 3, visiting the Roosters in a rematch of last season's Grand Final.
Parramatta will hit the road for the first time this season, heading north to face the Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium for a mouth-watering round 3 clash.