While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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St George Illawarra have got themselves back in the win column with a slick 42-16 victory over a lackluster Gold Coast side in front of 8,873 fans.
The train is back on the track, albeit a bit wobbly but the Dragons are back in the top eight. A 22 to nil first half set the platform for a crushing 42-16 victory that will soothe the fans for the run-in into the finals.
Kurt Mann was elevated into the halves due to a Josh McCrone injury, provided instant impact, the utility bookended the scoreline with two surging runs for tries. Overall, especially in the first half, it was the Dragons of old. Jason Nightingale found the line twice and Joel Thompson ran the perfect line as Gareth Widdop was revitalised, pulling the strings across the park.
It looked once Cameron McInnes crossed seven minutes into the second half, that the Dragons would go on and possibly raise the bat for the half-century but the second half frailties that surfaced against the Rabbitohs appeared in patches in front of an expectant crowd at Kogarah that was abnormally quiet through the contest. The unease only subsided when Mann collected his second in the 76th as the two points were secured.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor won't be pleased that after racing to a lead, the Dragons once again clocked off, thankfully it didn't cost them but with some tougher games to come into the next three weeks, it is something for the red-and-whites to work on.
Gold Coast Titans got themselves off the duck egg, Anthony Don scored their first try in almost three hours which opened the floodgates in relative terms. Dale Copley and Paterika Vaivai added some juice to their scoreline but for a side that coming into 2017, was high in the rankings, it has been an abject disappointment for the glitter strip side.
Next Thursday the Titans are in Sydney to face an Eels side that will be smarting from last night's loss to Newcastle - if there's no improvement from the Gold Coast it could get ugly. The Dragons meanwhile face a stern test at Suncorp Stadium when they are hosted by Brisbane on Friday night.
St George Illawarra Dragons 42 - Gold Coast Titans 16
Venue: Jubilee Oval
Halftime Score: St George Illawarra Dragons 22 Gold Coast Titans 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Kurt Mann
2 points - Tyson Frizell
1 points - Cameron McInnes
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (42)
Tries: Kurt Mann (2), Jason Nightingale (2), Joel Thompson, Cameron McInnes (2)
Conversions: Gareth Widdop (6/7)
Penalty Goals: Gareth Widdop (1/1)
GOLD COAST TITANS (16)
Tries: Dale Copley, Anthony Don, Paterika Vaivai
Conversions: Tyrone Roberts (2/3)