Clinical Dragons too good for Wests Tigers
Wests Tigers have again been left to rue missed opportunities in attack, going down 28-6 to the St. George-Illawarra Dragons today at ANZ Stadium.
The home side looked to have clawed their way back into the contest after trailing 14-0 at half-time, but stirring defence from the Dragons and lack of composure in attack from Andrew Webster’s men allowed the visitors to emerge with a 22-point win in the end.
James Tedesco looked to have put the home side in front when he went over in the corner inside the opening five minutes, but was denied by the Bunker after losing it.
That gave the Dragons a seven tackle set, and off the back of a defensive error from the hosts, it was Jason Nightingale who put the Dragons in front, finishing off a lovely flick pass from centre partner Tim Lafai to touch down after seven minutes of play.
Gareth Widdop made no mistake with the conversion to take the score to 6-0.
Off the back of another seven-tackle set, Nightingale would grab his second try of the match inside the opening 12 minutes as he collected a smart cross-field kick.
Widdop was unable to convert this time, leaving the score at 10-0.
Ava Seumanufagai looked to have pulled the score back when he scooped up a loose ball to dive over, but was denied again by the Bunker following a double knock-on.
Nightingale would complete a first half hat-trick when he latched on to a looping pass from Widdop to sneak in behind the Wests Tigers right edge defence to score.
Widdop’s unsuccessful conversion saw the score read 14-0 after 33 minutes.
Having already been denied twice by the Bunker in the first half, Tedesco would again see his effort rubbed out after being ruled offside from a Matt Ballin grubber.
Lafai went close to extending the Dragons’ lead just before half-time, but a great cover tackle from Naiqama kept the centre at bay, and maintained the 14-0 score at half-time.
Needing to score first in the second half, a big run from Sauaso Sue would put the home side on the attack, before Naiqama reacted quickest to a dropped grubber from Widdop — pouncing to score his side’s first try of the afternoon after 49 minutes.
Mitchell Moses made no mistake with the conversion, cutting the score to 14-6.
After missing several attacking opportunities throughout the first half, Wests Tigers would again be left to rue a missed chance through Moses Suli, who failed to plant down a Jack Littlejohn grubber — leading to a seven tackle set for St. George-Illawarra.
And that would prove to be a costly 12-point turnaround for the visitors, with Lafai latching on to a kick from Widdop the following set to extend the Dragons’ advantage.
Widdop’s successful sideline conversion restored the visitors’ 14-point lead.
Paul Vaughan was denied his second four-pointer of the season after a forward pass from Cameron McInnes — leaving the Dragons with a 20-6 lead after 65 minutes.
The visitors weren't done, though, with Nene Macdonald racing through to collect a Josh McCrone grubber, before Widdop converted from the sideline to make it 26-6, before a penalty goal in the final minute would confirm a 28-6 victory for the Dragons.
St. George-Illawarra Dragons 28 (Nightingale 3, Lafai, Macdonald tries; Widdop 3/5, Ah Mau 1/1 goals) def. Wests Tigers 6 (Naiqama tries; Moses 1/1 goals).