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Lomax's leaping helps Dragons hunt down Tigers

The Dragons have claimed an important win, getting over the top of the Tigers 24-12 in a fiery match at a sold-out Campbelltown Stadium.

The Dragons were on the board first after a penalty led to Zac Lomax try, with the visitors using their advantage to go right through the fast hands of Ben Hunt, Tyrell Sloan, Jack Bird and then out to Lomax to run along the sideline and go over and score. His attempt to convert hit the post and was waved away.

The Tigers first try came after an unsuccessful Captain's Challenge from Ben Hunt, who had argued against a knock on ruling when attempting to strip the ball, gave them the ball and their first proper opportunity to capitalise. 

A strong run from fullback Jahream Bula set it up for Api Koroisau to hit big prop Stefano Utoikamanu short to crash over. 

Stefano Utoikamanu Try

Scores were kept level after Koroisau's conversion attempt also hit the upright and went across the face, with the Bunker called on to adjudicate a no goal after the touch judges flags did not agree.

However, he made no mistake in his next attempt, putting the Tigers in front 6-4 after a successful penalty goal. 

Errors and ill-discipline plagued both sides and after a Koroisau kick went out on the full, the Dragons were able to re-take the lead. 

Offloads were the order of the day for the Dragons and they paid off for them again in their next try when firstly Jack de Belin, then Matt Eisenhuth created some second phase play before Ben Hunt went into the line and threw the ball out to the right edge for Jack Bird to fly up, grab it and put it down to score.

This time, Lomax was successful with the conversion for a 10-6 lead.

Kyle Flanagan Try

The Tigers had their opportunities later in the half but could not covert and it was instead the Dragons who were able to get more points to close out the half. 

A target for Hunt's kicks all afternoon, the skipper put up a kick up for Lomax, who out jumped Bula and brought the ball down and unselfishly passed it to Kyle Flanagan to go in and score. Lomax then converted it for a 16-6 lead two minutes before halftime which they held. 

In the second half, the Tigers had hoped they were on the board first when Charlie Staines finished a play out on their right, but a knock-on early in the play denied them first points of the half. 

The Dragons instead got the opening points of the half when a David Klemmer tackle on Kyle Flanagan was put on report, with Lomax stepping up to kick the penalty goal to push the lead to 18-6. 

Their next points came via a try to Jaydn Su'A, with the Dragons offloading causing the damage, before the former Maroons representative showed off some of his footwork to go in to score. 

The Tigers breathed life into the hope of a fightback however in the final 10 minutes when they capitalised on a penalty, setting up a nice try to their left when Asu Kepaoa went over in his first appearance for 2024. 

However, there were no more points to come for either side, with the Dragons claiming their third win of the season. 

Remembering Keith Barnes

Match Snapshot

  • The day started with a moment of silence for the victims of the Bondi Junction tragedy and to acknowledge the recent passing of Tigers legend Keith Barnes. 
  • Dragons halfback Ben Hunt now has 10 try assists for the season, the most in the competition so far.
  • The Campbelltown Sports Stadium ground was sold out for an NRL match for the first time since 2005, with 17,141 the official number.
A big crowd came out to support the Tigers.
A big crowd came out to support the Tigers. ©NRL Images
  • Dragons hooker Jacob Liddle made his 100th NRL appearance against his former club.
  • Jack Bird left the field late in the first half for a HIA which he failed, forcing Tom Eisenhuth into the centres.
  • Tigers forward David Klemmer was put on report twice in the match, the first for dangerous contact following a tackle on Kyle Flanagan and the second for a dangerous tackle on Zac Lomax.
  • Wests Tigers have won only one of their past five games against the Dragons.
  • St George Illawarra have won four of their five games at Campbelltown.
  • Wests Tigers have lost their past nine games at Campbelltown.

Play of the Game 

For the Dragons, all their tries were important to get the win, but the first-half effort from Jack Bird summed up where they found most of their success during the game, with their offloading paying dividends, making it hard to for the Tigers to wrap the ball up.

Jack Bird Try

What They Said 

“I thought that was probably our worst performance of the season. It’s a good lesson, we're a team that's still trying to figure out how we win and find out way through it and today I thought we bumbled away a lot. I thought we were looking for a soft way to win it at the start, instead of earning the right.  

“It’s amazing seeing all our fans turn up, there’s no better feeling that seeing them out there, but like I said to the boys, you have to bring them into the game and bring them into the game by playing with energy, being aggressive and making them feel like their team is trying and I just thought today it looked like it was St George’s home game, the way they were playing. They had more energy, more intent than us.” - Wests Tigers coach Benji Marshall

Wests Tigers: Round 6

“It’s hard to dominate for 80 minutes, we are getting better that’s for sure in those areas. Today was a lot more controlled. Probably bar the last 10 minutes, I thought we controlled the game. We started well. They are fair footy team, if you let Api (Koroisau) have space. (Today) we were better, still not there.

“Zac (Lomax) was good, real good. I have never doubted Zac’s ability that’s for sure. It’s his decision to leave the club, not ours.  We have got him this year and will make the most of it, he’s doing an outstanding job on the wing, isn’t’ he?” - Dragons coach Shane Flanagan

Dragons: Round 6

What's Next

Next week, the Tigers will head to Carrington Park in Bathurst to take on the Panthers.

The Dragons will host the Warriors at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers 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 Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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