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Knock-On Effect NSW Cup: Dragons outlast Raiders in North Sydney

The Dragons held off a late Raiders fightback to run out 24-16 victors in their Knock-On Effect NSW Cup clash at North Sydney Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Thousands of spectators descended upon North Sydney Oval for the competition’s Magic Round with the Dragons on show in the second of the weekend’s six matches.

Things were looking rosy for the Red V as they leapt out to an early 14-0 lead before a Viliami Fifita sin bin saw the Raiders snag back-to-back tries to surge back into the contest.

The Dragons defence held strong through the remainder of the clash however as five-eighth Jesse Marschke capped off his strong afternoon with a match-sealing try.

The Dragons claimed the opening points of the contest through Sione Finau who dove over in the right corner off a spilt Marschke bomb.

Marschke’s conversion was waved away as the score remained 4-0 less than 10 minutes in.

A pair of penalties put the Raiders on the attack only for Savelio Tamale to pluck a Chevy Stewart offload out of the air and race more than 80 metres downfield to score against the run of play and extend the Red V’s lead beyond a converted try.

The 19-year-old has now managed seven tries across his last six Knock-On Effect NSW Cup outings.

Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Highlights: Round 11

Another mid-air error gave the Dragons an opportunity to grow their advantage further with Ben Johnson winning the race to a Jonah Glover grubber and corralling the ball in to ground it for his second four-pointer in as many weeks.

Glover contended with the wind and stepped up to nail the side’s first conversion of the afternoon and make it 14-0 just shy of the half-hour mark.

A downtown penalty put the Red V back in desirable field position soon after with Marschke stepping and ducking his way to the line on the fifth tackle only to be held up by Raiders defenders.

A stellar Mathew Feagai kick return saw the Dragons storm right back onto the attack only for a mistimed error to put an abrupt stop to the raid minutes short of the break.

The Raiders snagged their first points of the clash on the stroke of halftime through big man Jake Clydsdale who poured through a hole to dive over next to the sticks as the Dragons had their lead cut to 14-6 heading into the break.

The second half got off to a strong start for the Dragons courtesy of Feagai who swept down the left corridor and powered his way through a trio of Raiders to get to the line and plant the ball down with Glover’s conversion attempt falling short as the rain began to come down.

Fifita was sent to the bin moments later for a dangerous tackle with Simi Sasagi finding his way over down a narrow short side off it to bring the Raiders back within eight.

The Raiders went back-to-back through James Schiller who pushed his way through a collection of defenders off a string of offloads to dive over to the left of the posts as the Dragons’ lead dwindled to just two.

A 40/20 close to an hour in put the Raiders back on the front foot but a strong piece of defence courtesy of Glover forced an error to halt the advance.

Finau surged his way into the backfield to send the Raiders defence scrambling with Marschke taking full advantage the following play showcasing his lethal, right-foot step to get to the chalk and earn the Red V a handy buffer.

Glover added the extras to make it 24-16 entering the final 10 minutes of the contest.

Dylan Egan was denied a try moments later with officials ruling that the ball had failed to touch the turf as he wrestled his way to the line despite the second rower’s protest.

Stewart looked to have grabbed a late try that would have brought the Raiders back within two but was ruled offside on the kick chase as Ben Woolf’s men held on for their second win on the trot.

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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