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Jersey Flegg Cup: Dragons fall to fast finishing Wests Tigers

A hot start was not enough to propel the Dragons Jersey Flegg unit to victory against the Wests Tigers at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday with the hosts notching a 31-22 win.

The clash proved a tale of two halves with the Dragons enjoying a dominant first half capped off with a superb Khye Russell four-pointer after to siren to make it 22-4.

The tide turned quickly and definitively after the break however with the hosts taking advantage of a collection of Dragons errors to pour on a quintet of tries in less than 25 minutes and claim the competition points.

The afternoon got off to a subpar start for the visitors with an error off the kick-off paving the way for an early Wests Tigers raid but the Dragons defence held strong to force a drop.

An early penalty put the hosts on the front foot and centre Solomone Saukuru took full advantage powering his way over down the left edge for the contest’s opening points.

Zakauri Clarke’s conversion was waved away as the score remained 4-0.

Some battering Dragons defence forced an error off the corresponding set paving the way for them to hit back instantly off a slick scrum play in which Ben Rumble sent winger Cain Barnes over in the left corner.

No.7 Ashton Ward nailed the conversion from inches inside the touchline to wrestle the lead the way of the Dragons.

Not long after, the Dragons defence stepped up to force another error with a flying Ward this time getting his name in the try-scorers column off the back of a pinpoint kick courtesy of halves partner Nick Quinn.

Ward converted his own try to extend the Dragons’ lead beyond a converted try halfway through the opening stanza.

Nick Tsougranis – who spent the offseason training with the club’s NRL squad – was inserted into the action for the Dragons soon after for his first taste of action this season.

Wests Tigers prop Chris Faagutu was placed on report was a high shot that resulted in Hamish Stewart being taken from the field for a HIA, which he passed.

Ward continued his impressive afternoon sending back rower Jack Quine over for the Dragons third try of the afternoon just shy of the break before adding the extra two to make it 18-4.

The first half scoring had not yet come to a close however with Russell showcasing some dazzling footwork down the right touchline off a nice Ben Lavender delivery after the siren to cross in the corner and make it 22-4.

The hosts struck first in the second half with Kobie Wilson diving over out of dummy half to make it 22-10.

The Wests Tigers went back-to-back with second rower Lachlan Broederlow steaming into the backfield and hitting centre Maxwell Taotua back on the inside for their third.

The hosts went within inches of another the following set only for a desperate Rumble cover effort to deny left winger Will Craig.

Their gust of momentum continued however with Te Umuariki Heremia-Tukere cleaning up a bungled grubber moments later to dive over in the left corner and cut the deficit to just two.

The hosts snagged their fourth try in the space of 15 minutes through Taotua – his second of the afternoon – to hit the lead the following set.

Front rower Herman Tofaeono burst through to score shortly after to make it 26 unanswered points for the Wests Tigers before five-eighth Naati Teaupa slotted a late one-pointer to seal the 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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