St George grind out win over Gold Coast - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

St George grind out win over Gold Coast

By Steve Jancetic 21/03/2009 09:41:04 PM Comments (0)

An act of redemption for five-eighth Jamie Soward handed Wayne Bennett his first NRL win as St George Illawarra coach on Saturday night, the Dragons grinding out a 16-10 victory over Gold Coast at WIN Stadium.

Coming off a sub-par opening round performance, Soward laid on both second-half tries for the home side with deft kicks for Neville Costigan and Jason Nightingale to silence the critics who had been calling for his head.

Those questioning the Titans' ability to win away from the holiday strip were still crowing, however, the visitors' only points coming via an opportunist's try to halfback Scott Prince after just four minutes before a last-minute try to William Zillman when the result was beyond doubt.

It was all the Dragons the rest of the way thanks to some relentless defence, though veteran mentor Bennett still has plenty of work to do if he is to turn the red and whites into serious premiership contenders with much of their attacking play devoid of timing and cohesion.

Clinging to a slender 6-4 halftime lead after Jeremy Smith crashed over from short range after Matt White was penalised for a lifting tackle in front of his own sticks, the Dragons wasted little time in putting some space between them and the Titans.

A Nathan Friend forward pass on the opening set after the resumption was just the invitation the Dragons and Soward needed, the tiny pivot grubbering for Ben Hornby only to see the ball bounce over his halves partner's head and into the waiting arms of Costigan, who went over untouched.

With the effects of the short turnaround following the oppressive conditions in last week's win over Newcastle starting to take effect on the Titans, the Dragons pressed but were unable to ram home the advantage.

Finally a Soward chip kick for the corner found Nightingale, who outleapt opposite Jordan Atkins to give the Dragons a 16-4 lead with 13 minutes remaining.

The game started well for the home side when Prince got them on the board on four minutes when he raced out of the defensive line to toe through a loping Hornby pass before winning the 40 metre race to the line.

Three straight sets on the Dragons line and it looked only a matter of time before the Titans built on their lead, the home side doing well to repel the raids before Smith barged over for the Dragons' opening salvo in the 21st minute.

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