Saint Wayne in 7th heaven after GF win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saint Wayne in 7th heaven after GF win

By Doug Conway 03/10/2010 08:44:54 PM Comments (0)

As the St George Illawarra Dragons punched the air and hugged each other after ending their 31-year NRL premiership drought, their phlegmatic leader slouched onto the ground with his hands in his pockets.

You would never have guessed that Wayne Bennett had just cemented his status as the game's greatest coach.

It was the ultimate demonstration of sangfroid from a man not given to flowery words or gestures.

But Bennett was soon making his own modest contribution to the celebrations, for 31 years is an eternity for a club with as proud a past as the Dragons.

Bennett's no-nonsense outfit put an end to an age without a trophy by overwhelming the Sydney Roosters 32-8 to win the 2010 grand final.

It was the club's first premiership since 1979, its 16th overall and its first since as St George Illawarra following the merger with Wollongong's Steelers in 1998.

Hooker Dean Young and winger Brett Morris had special reason to celebrate family affairs, as their fathers had helped the club win its last title.

To get home, however, the Dragons had to overcome a 6-8 deficit at half time after Roosters captain Braith Anasta and secondrower Mitchell Aubusson had both crossed the try line.

But once they hit their stride their was no stopping the red and white juggernaut that ploughed the Roosters into the rain-drenched turf of Sydney's Olympic stadium.

After a prodigious leap by centre Mark Gasnier led to their only first half try, they piled on the agony with second half tries to Jason Nightingale (two), Dean Young and Nathan Fien.

Five-eighth Jamie Soward converted all five tries, capping a jubilant day against his old club.

Bennett, already a statistically superior coach to Jack Gibson, now has seven titles - two more than the great Easts/Parramatta motivator.

And he has matched Gibson's feat of taking two different teams to the title after winning six in 21 years with the Brisbane Broncos.

His opposite number Brian Smith was left wondering what it must feel like, for he tasted grand final defeat for the fourth time in 27 years of coaching with seven different clubs.

St George also spoiled one of sport's great fairytales by stopping the Roosters from becoming the first team in 76 years to go from wooden spoon to premiership in one season.

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