Dragons survive Canterbury comeback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons survive Canterbury comeback

David Beniuk 14/05/2011 12:02:17 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra survived a furious second-half comeback from Canterbury to sneak home 15-10 in a tense Friday night NRL clash at ANZ Stadium.

The Dragons scored all their points in a near flawless 15-0 first half but the machine appeared to break down in the second 40 minutes, the premiers even appearing flustered as the Dogs got physical.

Two Jamie Soward field goal attempts at 15-10, with 15 and then 12 minutes still to play, may not have been signs of panic but the Dogs enjoyed the ascendancy in the second half in front of 34,322 vocal fans.

It finished two tries apiece, the boot of Soward proving the difference with three from four and a 40th minute field goal.

Matt Prior and Matt Cooper scored their first half four-pointers, while Michael Lett and Trent Hodkinson replied for the home side in the second.

Steve Turner booted one from two for the Bulldogs.

Desperate defence helped the Dragons stretch their winning streak to eight games, and six against Canterbury, although Dogs coach Kevin Moore will be pleased with a marked improvement on the round five 25-6 defeat at the SCG.

Canterbury are yet to beat any of the top three sides in the competition, with losses also against Melbourne and Brisbane.

The match will provide food for thought for NSW coach Ricky Stuart who had another perfect State of Origin trial.

There was little between hookers Dean Young and Michael Ennis, although the value of Ennis's verbals was there for television viewers to see - and the Dragons to hear.

Prior scored after a Soward cross-field bomb, although there was a question mark over the final pass from Beau Scott who appeared to have been tackled.

Cooper stepped inside to beat Hodkinson and Turner before Soward drilled a clinical field goal over as the halftime siren sounded.

But if the Dragons were coasting, the Dogs were far from done.

They scored a 70m runaway try through Lett, laid on by Corey Payne, three minutes after the break and it was game on when Hodkinson collected the fruits of his own kick in the 59th minute to make it 15-10.

Canterbury kept coming, with big forward Frank Pritchard outstanding, but too often couldn't make the decisive play.

Dragons coach Wayne Bennett denied his side had been rattled by the Canterbury comeback.

"They were applying a bit of pressure to us but we weren't rattled," he said.

"We were holding together but it's a fine line sometimes between pressure being applied and being rattled."

Captain Ben Hornby said a six-point margin through a field goal would have had his side believing they couldn't lose.

"Mentally it would have been (tough) for them," he said.

"We felt six points we couldn't lose the game and if it went to extra time we were happy with that."

Bennett said the side was desperately in need of next week's bye with a stack of players playing their fourth game in 12 days on Friday night.

"We're tired, we couldn't have done another week, we've played a lot of tough footy in the last five or six weeks and we're at the end of our run," he said.

"We're a team badly in need of a break."

Moore praised his side's attitude in the second half.

"For us to go back out and roll the sleeves up and then, when we got a fair share of footy, we showed that we could trouble them," he said.

"In the end I thought we were a touch unlucky."

Bulldogs Lett (hamstring), Greg Eastwood (cork) and Mickey Paea (knee) suffered injuries.

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