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Dragons surge past Warriors in Wollongong

The Dragons took down the Warriors 30-12 at WIN Stadium on Friday evening for their second win on the trot.

It proved a prosperous evening for Shane Flanagan’s men with a 13,111-strong crowd on hand for a win which involved a memorable milestone along with a pair of club debuts.

Zac Lomax made his 100th appearance as a Dragon whilst Christian Tuipulotu and Fa’amanu Brown donned the Red V for the first time.

Fullback Tyrell Sloan sent the Wollongong faithful into a frenzy mid-way through the second stanza after gliding away for a near 90-metre try against the run of play.

An early bit of scramble defence saw the Dragons hold off a Warriors raid with Tuipulotu showcasing his defensive chops with a big stop.

A pair of penalties put the visitors back on the front foot however with Shaun Johnson proving the beneficiary stepping his way over the line to score before converting his own try to make it 6-0.

The Dragons came away with another resolute defensive stand that survived several set restarts as Jacob Liddle came up with a perfectly timed intercept.

Ben Hunt went pouring into the backfield soon after only for officials to rule Jaydn Su’A’s offload in the lead-up as forward.

Hunt instead stepped up moments later to send a thundering Moses Suli over down the left edge for his opening try of the season.

A bone-rattling Hame Sele and Raymond Faitala-Mariner sandwich forced a Warriors error coming off their line to put the hosts back on the attack soon after.

A slick shift out right saw Mikaele Ravalawa take in a Sloan delivery to slam the ball down in the right corner for his opening try of 2024 and put the Red V ahead by two a half-hour in.

The Dragons roared back onto the attack courtesy of a powerful Ben Murdoch-Masila charge with Hunt again stepping up venturing down the right edge and ducking and weaving his way to the stripe.

Lomax added the extra two before nailing the first two-point field goal of his career just shy of the siren to put the hosts up 16-6 headed into the half.

The second half could not have started better for the Red V with Lomax screaming through and taking off to swallow a Hunt kick in the opening set of the half and finishing it off with an extravagant swan dive.

He converted his own try to make it 22 unanswered points for the hosts and extend the advantage to 16.

An enterprising piece of play which saw Lomax send centre partner Suli streaking down the left touchline off a 20-metre restart swung field position back the way of the hosts with Hunt forcing a dropout to cap off the set.

An illegal restart provided the Dragons a gift two points from in front of the sticks as the scoreboard ballooned out to 24-6.

Sloan set WIN Stadium alight entering the final quarter of the clash with Hunt scooping up a Warriors drop and sending his fullback into space.

The Dragons No.1 sped past the initial cover before fending off a flying Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to dive over behind the sticks for a phenomenal, 88-metre effort and further improve the lead.

Brown was inserted into the action off the back of it for his first taste of action as a Dragon leading to a period of courageous goal-line defence.

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The Warriors finally came up with their second try of the evening entering the final 10 with Watene-Zelezniak diving his way over in the right corner to cut the deficit back to 18.

Lomax was denied his second in the final stages after officials ruled that Faitala-Mariner’s pass in the lead-up was forward, but it mattered little with Flanagan's men coming away with a comprehensive victory.

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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