A dominant display saw the Dragons run out 48-16 victors over the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday afternoon in what proved to be a historic NRLW outing for Jamie Soward’s squad.
Their 48-point effort set a club record and tied the NRLW record for most points in a game set earlier this season in a comprehensive nine-tries-to-three rout.
Teenager Madison Mulhall, who captained the Dragons’ Tarsha Gale Cup outfit earlier in the year, was promoted into the starting lineup for the Red V for her NRLW debut after being presented her jersey earlier in the week.
Mulhall could not have asked for a much better start to her NRLW career bagging a first-half try.
The two unhappy moments for the Red V both came in the first half, with Cowboys forward Makenzie Weale binned for a hip drop on Alexis Tauaneai who spent an extended period on the turf before hobbling from the field with some assistance. Replacement player Macie Carlile was activated as a result of the foul play.
Match: Cowboys v Dragons
Round 7 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cheynoah Amone also missed the majority of the match after being ruled out by a HIA early in the contest with Zali Hopkins forced into the action early at centre.
Teagan Berry also became the first player in NRLW history to score 20 career tries in the second half as the Red V motored towards a valuable pair of competition points.
The classy fullback took just a matter of minutes to insert herself into the action racing more than half the field down the right touchline off a kick return to spring the visitors into enemy territory early.
The break laid the platform for Taylor-Adeline Mapusua to snare the first try of her NRLW career off an exchange of passing on her inside between Tyla Nathan-Wong and Shenai Lendill.
Raecene McGregor’s conversion was waved away as the advantage remained at four.
An error gifted the Cowboys a scrum just 10 metres out from the Dragons goal-line, but a desperate cover effort threw winger Vitalina Naikore over the sideline on the opening play.
The hosts got on the board moments later, however, via Krystal Blackwell who took in a looping Kirra Dibb cut-out to power her way over in the left corner.
Dibb’s conversion brushed the upright and snuck over to give the hosts their first lead of the contest.
The Cowboys threatened to go back-to-back the following set through April Ngatupuna who was held up over the line on the last tackle.
A Nathan-Wong bomb forced a Cowboys error moments later with Angelina Teakaraanga-Katoa held up off the back of it.
Nathan-Wong and Koster combined to earn the Dragons a repeat set with Mapusua denied her second the corresponding set with officials ruling that Berry’s pass travelled forward in the lead-up.
Another penalty put the Cowboys on the front foot, but the visitors’ scramble continued to hold firm with several defenders again combining to hold an opponent up over the line on the final tackle of the set.
Margot Vella got herself on the board to wrestle the lead back for the Dragons courtesy of a shrewd Hopkins face ball down a narrow short side with McGregor nailing the conversion from inches inside the left touchline to make it 10-6.
Tiana Raftstrand-Smith was denied the Cowboys’ second after leading the chase on a Dibb grubber but failing to come up with a grounding.
The Dragons went the distance off the restart and capped the raid off with a four-pointer to debutant Mulhall who ran an inch-perfect line off the hip of McGregor and stepped her way past the cover to slam the ball down.
A pair of penalties put the Dragons right back on the attack the following possession and Koster obliged steaming through a gap untouched down the left edge off Nathan-Wong to extend the lead beyond a pair of converted tries.
Shortly after Weale was binned, a barnstorming Maddison Weatherall crashed over next the sticks for her first NRLW try shoving away from multiple defenders as the half-time scoreline ballooned to 28-6.
Berry went within millimetres of adding to her mammoth try tally off a Nathan-Wong grubber, but video officials ruled that she grounded the ball on the dead ball line.
Francesca Goldthorp responded for the hosts the following set pushing away from several defenders to score off a left-side sweep before Dibb again cannoned the conversion off the upright and over to add the extra two.
The Cowboys grabbed another through Naikore who somersaulted her way over in the right corner off a Tahlulah Tillett cut-out to cut the lead to a dozen.
A pinpoint McGregor kick trapped Goldthorp in-goal to set the stage for Berry to send Mapusua over for her second in the left corner and improve the lead back to 16.
Berry joined the try-scorers party off a beautiful McGregor grubber back on the inside with less than 10 minutes to play.
Hopkins dummied and juked her way over out of dummy-half to snatch the Dragons’ eighth with just five minutes on the clock before Lendill grabbed the first try of her NRLW career late to cap off a sensational afternoon for the visitors and boost them towards a 48-16 victory.