Dragons too classy for Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons too classy for Cowboys

By Steve Jancetic 27/03/2010 12:12:52 AM Comments (0)

The defensive wall was ever-present but St George Illawarra also gave a glimpse of razzle-dazzle as the Dragons maintained their perfect start to the NRL season with a 33-8 win over North Queensland at WIN Stadium on Friday night.

The Dragons were never threatened as they made it three from three to start the season, the six tries to one win setting up a mouth-watering Good Friday clash against reigning premiers Melbourne at Etihad Stadium next week.

Once again the home side relied on its defence - which has now conceded just four tries in three games this season - but well-executed first half tries to Brett Morris, Matt Cooper and Jason Nightingale showed the Dragons had plenty to offer in attack as well.

The Cowboys on the other hand had nothing but a Johnathan Thurston penalty goal to show for their efforts up until the 67th minute, when Grant Rovelli sent Ashley Graham over for an all too rare bright spot for the visitors, who for much of the game looked clueless in attack.

The Dragons did as they pleased down their left edge, Darius Boyd making a clever break to set up Morris' fourth of the season after seven minutes before a Luke Priddis inside ball provided Cooper with a four-pointer in his return from injury.

Only Ty Williams' stunning cover defence from fullback denied the Dragons more points down the left, before the Dragons seemingly got bored with carving up Ashley Graham and John Williams and turned their attention to the other side of the field.

That reaped instant rewards as Jamie Soward launched a clever change of attack to expose Michael Bani for Nightingale to make it 16-2 just before the half hour.

The contest was as good as over when Ben Creagh crashed through some feeble defence five minutes from the restart, before the Cowboys threatened a charge on the back of Graham's late try.

But as it had for most of the night, North Queensland's attack faltered at the crucial moment, the Dragons ensuring themselves the last laugh with Morris and Nightingale completing doubles inside the last four minutes.

"I think the scoreline probably flattered us a little bit - the Cowboys were much better than that," Dragons coach Wayne Bennett said.

"We got away there at the end.

"We're not trying to play razzle dazzle, we weren't trying to control the ball any more than normal either, it just happened."

The Cowboys admitted to being frustrated by the home side's stellar defensive stand, which extended North Queensland's miserable run in first halves this season, which has now yielded just four points in 120 minutes.

"They don't give you much," Cowboys coach Neil Henry said.

"I think they are the benchmark at the moment and I think they've proven it again tonight.

"We came down here with a little bit of confidence on the back of a good win last week and going close in the first round."

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