Flat Dragons snatch victory from gallant Eels

NRL TelstraPremiership GRAD
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St George Illawarra Dragons v Parramatta Eels

The Dragons have pulled a miraculous last gasp win out of the fire against the last placed Parramatta at WIN Stadium tonight, 20-18 winners in front of just under 7,000 fans.

They were flat, lacking cohesion and energy all game, while the Eels were in control, had a better structure and immensely better kicking game, while also dominating through the middle.

However it was the Dragons who opened the scoring through a Gareth Widdop penalty goal in the 15th minute.

9 minutes later and Tim Mannah wound back the clock with a great run. He received a poor pass, stepped off his right to avoid the fast approaching defence. He then strolled through one tackle and made a great run before linking with French who bolted away to score under the posts. Gutherson converted.

Less than ten minutes passed before the Eels scored again. This time it was set up by a beautiful short ball from Corey Norman close to the line to Nathan Brown, who hit a yawning gap and strolled over for an easy try. Gutherson again added the extras.

Just minutes before the halftime break and the Dragons hit back with a stunning try. Macdonald got into space and kicked back infield. Widdop then tapped the ball back, out of Gutherson's grasp, into Lafai's hands, who then found Dufty backing up and the fullback ran over to score a stunning try. Widdop slotted the goal.

The Eels started the second half looking vastly better than the flat Dragons. In the 47th minute, Hayne received a good ball between two out of position edge defenders and he snuck through just enough before fighting to get the ball down for a good strong try. Gutherson's conversion from out wide was spot on and the Eels lead 18-8.

The Dragons looked destined to lose, but it was a great kick return by Dufty got his side on the front foot. Four tackles later, Hunt grubbered and found Aitken, who regathered and plants it before it goes dead for a good try. Widdop converted. The Dragons now trailed by 4 points.

With three minutes remaining in the game, Widdop grubbered in a panicked last play. Gower turned and dived to catch the bouncing ball, but Dufty snatched it out of his hands and dived over under the posts to score. Widdop converted from right in front to claim an unlikely victory.

Next weekend the Dragons are away to the Storm, while Parramatta enjoy the pre-Origin bye.

St George Illawarra Dragons 20 - Parramatta Eels 18

Venue: WIN Stadium
Crowd: 6933
Halftime Score: St George Illawarra Dragons 8 Parramatta Eels 12

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Matthew Dufty
2 points - Corey Norman
1 points - Mitchell Moses

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (20)
Tries: Matthew Dufty (2), Euan Aitken
Field Goals:
Conversions: Gareth Widdop (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Gareth Widdop (1/1)

PARRAMATTA EELS (18)
Tries: Bevan French, Nathan Brown, Jarryd Hayne
Field Goals:
Conversions: Clint Gutherson (3/3)
Penalty Goals:


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