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Dragons snatch Manly's joy - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 24 May 2008 10:21:00 GMT
St George Illawarra proved anything Manly can do, they could do better after pinching a 20-18 victory at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.

The Dragons came out firing in the first half with second rower Beau Scott crossing in the 7th minute, kick starting what would become nothing short of a try-for-try contest.

With missed opportunities on both sides, it wasn’t long before Manly replied when NSW Origin player Brett Stewart sent David Williams over into the corner after a well-placed reverse pass.

A successful conversion from Matt Orford meant Manly lead 6-4 by the 16th minute.

Less then 10 minutes later however, a high kick over the heads of Manly defenders and a fumbled catch saw Ben Hornby dive on the ball to add another four points to the Dragons.

It wasn’t all tit for tat for the visitors. At one stage they did not complete seven straight sets of play while producing error after error in favour of the Eagles.

Manly and rugby league veteran Steve Menzies proved he is still as dangerous as ever producing one try and almost a second over the course of the night.

His first and only awarded try - at the end of a self destructive period for the Dragons – put Manly in front 12-10 before halftime.

The second half came with its big hits; including a late tackle by Manly centre Steve Matai on Dragon’s five-eighth Jamie Soward.

Subsequently, St George was awarded a penalty and off the set of six that followed, Nightingale scored a controversial try and was given benefit of the doubt by video referee Phil Cooley.

Shortly after Menzies second and disallowed try, Orford sent winger Michael Robertson into the corner post to help the home team ascend to an 18-14 lead.

But another disallowed try for Manly, this time at the hands of Brett Stewart meant they were never able to put an end to the Dragons chase.

It was the 74th minute when Josh Morris broke through Manly defenders and threw the ball to twin brother Brett, sending him crashing over the try line.

Soward’s most important conversion of the evening gave St George Illawarra a two point lead to finish off with and in the end another two competition points.

“We hung in there and we’re a much tougher team this past five weeks than I think people give us credit for,” Dragons coach Nathan Brown said.

St George were without NSW centre Matt Cooper who injured his back in Wednesday night’s State of Origin.

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 20 (Scott, Hornby, Nightingale, B Morris tries; Soward 2 goals) d MANLY 18 (Williams, Menzies, Robertson tries; Orford 3 goals) at Brookvale Oval. Referee: J Robinson. Crowd: 12,058. Penalties: Manly 7-6.

Points Breakdown:
7th min: Dragons 4-0 (Scott try; Soward missed goal)
16th min: Manly 6-4 (Williams try; Orford goal)
23rd min: Dragons 10-6 (Hornby try; Soward goal)
33rd min: Manly 12-10 (Menzies try; Orford goal)
51st min: Dragons 14-12 (Nightingale try; Soward goal)
70th min: Manly 18-14 (Robertson try; Orford goal)
75th min: Dragons 20-18 (B Morris try; Soward goal)

Manly - Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Steve Matai, Jamie Lyon, David Williams, Steve Menzies, Matt Orford (c), Brent Kite, Matt Ballin, Josh Perry, Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Luke Williamson Interchange - Heath L'Estrange, Glenn Hall, Adam Cuthbertson, Mark Bryant Coach: Des Hasler

St George-Illawarra - Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale, Mark Gasnier (c), Chase Stanley, Josh Morris, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Justin Poore, Dean Young, Jason Ryles, Beau Scott, S Webb, Ben Creagh Interchange - L L Setu Hunt, Kirk Reynoldson, Dan Hunt, Rangi Chase Coach: Nathan Brown - Read More, Here