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Jett Liu carts the ball up in the Dragons' Round 18 Jersey Flegg win.

The Dragons Jersey Flegg squad have sealed their third win on the trot after outlasting the Sharks 34-18 in a fiery local derby at PointsBet Stadium on Thursday evening thanks to doubles from Ben Rumble and Hamish Stewart.

The Dragons ended the first half on a tear thanks to a trio of tries in the space of five minutes shortly before the siren.

A late Sharks fightback was not enough to prevent the Dragons from snagging their seventh win of the season and avenging their Round 4 loss.

It took less than five minutes for Dragons front rower Jacob Webster to crash over for the first points of the contest off a shrewd, inside ball from halfback Ashton Ward.

Ward knocked over the extra two from next to the posts to make it a 6-0 advantage early.

An early shift off the subsequent set saw the Dragons race 90 metres downfield through left centre Campbell Watchirs but some scrambling Cronulla defence quelled the raid.

The Sharks answered off a seven-tackle set through winger Kristian Dixon who took in a short-side cut-out to somersault his way over in the right corner and cut the Dragons lead to two.

Dixon finished off a scrum play in the corner for his second 18 minutes in to give the hosts a two-point lead.

The Dragons crossed again off the back of a penalty 10 minutes before the intermission through Stewart who reeled in a bullet pass from number nine Declan Purcell to crash over adjacent to the sticks.

The Dragons lead was extended to double-digits the following set thanks to a Ward bomb bouncing fortuitously into the arms of Rumble down the right touchline.

An incorrect restart put the Dragons straight back onto the attack and the points continued to pour through winger Te Umuariki Heremia-Tukere who finished off a sharp, early-set shift next to the left corner-post.

Ward’s perfect goal-kicking evening continued with the Gerringong Lions junior slotting the conversion from inches inside the chalk to make it 24-8 with three minutes to play in the half.

The side’s five-minute, three-try avalanche shortly before the break thrust them to a 16-point half-time lead after a back-and-forth opening quarter of the encounter.

Ward went close to snatching a four-pointer of his own in the early stages of the second half through an eyes-up chip-and-chase but came millimetres short of a grounding.

Rumble slammed the ball down off a slick left-side sweep play for the side’s first points of the second stanza with Ward’s ensuing conversion ballooning the score to 30-8 with a little over 20 to play.

The Sharks capitalised on a Dragons error soon after through big man Felix Fa’atili who punched his way to the line to cut the lead to 16.

The hosts went back-to-back off the following set after a last-tackle bomb sprung into the arms of winger Te Wehi Waitere who found back-rower Toby Boothroyd back on the inside to score.

The Dragons lead remained at a dozen with 12 minutes remaining with the Sharks unable to convert the try.

The visitors were able to hold out several more attacking raids and were rewarded with a match-sealing four-pointer to Stewart – his second of the night – off a last-tackle, short-side surge.

Aaron Hertsch’s squad managed to come away with a clinical 34-18 local derby win in enemy territory for their third in a row and seventh of the season.

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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