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Dragons fall to Warriors in de Belin’s 200th

A four-try effort courtesy of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak led the Warriors to a 48-18 win over the Dragons in Jack de Belin’s 200th NRL game at WIN Stadium on Friday night.

The Cootamundra Bulldogs junior ran out for his milestone appearance flanked by his family at the same venue he made his NRL debut at back in 2011.

After a back-and-forth opening quarter, a trio of Warriors tries in the space of seven minutes broke the game open heading into half-time.

The Dragons were unable to capitalise on a second half Marata Niukore sin bin as Andrew Webster’s men came away with a decisive win.

It took the visitors just five minutes to open their account through Watene-Zelezniak off a right-side shift before Marcelo Montoya was denied a try in the left corner moments later after the video officials picked up an obstruction in the lead-up.

A Warriors error laid the platform for the Dragons’ answer through fullback Tyrell Sloan who found some space down the right edge and glided through the defensive line to cross and give the side their first lead.

The Dragons came close to a second on the first quarter mark thanks to another Sloan break which created an opportunity for Mikaele Ravalawa who came within inches of a miracle put-down but was denied.

Play was called back at the end of the following set with the referee ruling a Dragons knock-on, however, an astute captain’s challenge won possession back for the Red V.

Montoya’s second attempt to cross the try-line proved successful as the Warriors wrestled back an 8-6 lead just shy of the half-hour mark.

The visitors successfully overturned an on-field call with a captain’s challenge of their own the following set which led to a Bayley Sironen try off a Shaun Johnson grubber that survived video intervention despite replays showing an apparent bobble in the grounding.

The Warriors struck again prior to the break through Jackson Ford who reeled in a Johnson bomb to dive over underneath the sticks as the Warriors took a 20-6 advantage into the sheds.

Moses Suli’s night was ended two minutes into the second stanza due to a head knock off a Niukore high shot which earned the Warriors back-rower a sin bin.

A second successful captain’s challenge kept the Dragons in strong field position with Zane Musgrove crashing over for his first try as a Dragon off a charge back under Jacob Liddle inside ball.

A Luke Metcalf break put the Warriors back on the front foot with Watene-Zelezniak taking flight in the right corner for his second of the contest off the back of some slick hands on his inside.

Johnson got his name on the try-scorers’ list moments later off an Addin Fonua-Blake offload as the lead ballooned to 30-12.

The Warriors’ attacking avalanche continued with Watene-Zelezniak again finding space down the right edge and flicking the ball to Rocco Berry for the visitors’ seventh try.

Francis Molo pounced on a Jayden Sullivan grubber under the posts for the Dragons’ third try with 12 minutes remaining.

Another leaping corner effort earned Watene-Zelezniak his third try of the night before the Warriors winger snagged a fourth in the final stages as the visitors notched a rare Wollongong win.

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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