The St George Illawarra Dragons have come away with the points following 42-28 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale this evening.
Saints raced away to an early lead and dominated proceedings with a 16-2 lead after 13 minutes. But two tries against the run of play saw the Sea Eagles get back in the match and at half time, the Dragons were hanging onto a 20-12 lead.
The Sea Eagles scored again shortly after the break to put themselves just two points behind the visitors.
Dragons skipper, Shaun Timmins was sin binned in the 55th minute for swearing at a touch judge and the Sea Eagles immediately went on the attack. With only 12 men in the line, Saints looked likely to open up.
But then Nathan Blacklock swooped in to take a trademark intercept to dash 90 metres to score. With speedster, Scott Donald in hot pursuit, Blacklock seemingly went up a gear and strolled to scored a timely try next to the posts, thus delivering the turning point of the match.
Manly struck back with a third try to Donald and once again, closed in on the Dragons' lead.
But Saints scored the next three tries with doubles to Wilshere, Cooper and Blacklock who has now scored his 7th try in just three matches.
Saturday 28 June 2003 7:30 PM Brookvale Oval Referee: Stephen Clark
EAGLES 28 Tries: Donald 3, Watmough, Torrens Goals: Williamson 5/7 DRAGONS 42 Tries: Cooper 2, Wilshere 2, Blacklock 2, Firman, Young, Goals: Riddell 5/7. Firman 0/1
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Timmins (Dragons) 2 - L Bailey (Dragons) 1 - N Blacklock (Dragons)
By the clock: Kick off!
3 min: TRY - Dragons. Matt Cooper regathers Brett Firman grubber to score an easy try. Mark Riddell conversion 15m from goal is successful. Dragons 6-0
5 min: TRY - Firman scores on the back of a break set up by Shaun Timmins who put Henry Perenara into a hole on the Saints 20m line. Cooper backed up and then found Firman who sailed over 15m from touch. Conversion Riddell. Dragons 12-0
9 min: PENALTY GOAL Sea Eagles. Follows a raid from Saints who almost score but then referee Clark awards Manly a series of penalties, mainly against Dragons front rower, Jason Ryles who appears to have been singled out by the ref. Williamson converts the pressure into 2 points for the home side. Dragons 12-2
13 min: TRY - Dragons. John Wilshere scores his first try in first grade since 1997. Clever work from Riddell, Firman and Timmins to set up play up the middle of the ruck. Manly in disarray. Conversion Riddell from out wide is unsuccessful. Dragons 16-2
18 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Scott Donald scores after a great line break down the left flank from Brendon Reeves. Follows dropped Dragons' ball which was kicked ahead by Manly skipper, Steve Memzies. Conversion Williamson from wide is unsuccessful. Dragons 16-6
23 min: TRY - Dragons. Dean Young scores hs debut try in first grade. Comes on the back of chip kick from Firman and clever regather and pass from Ben Hornby. Young scores in the set courtesy of an overlap. Sideline conversion Riddell is unsuccessful. Dragons 20-6
39 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Scott Donald gets a double after picking up loose ball and running 90m to score. Conversion Williamson. Dragons 20-12
HALF TIME: Saints looking for the knock-out punch in the first half but tries against the run of play to the Sea Eagles means that the match is far from over. DRAGONS 20-12
42 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Anthony Watmough regathers grubber kick to score next to uprights. Follows some leadup work from Ben MacDougall and a movement that started on the 30m line. Conversion Williamson is sucessful and Manly are back in the match. Dragons 20-18
53 min: Both sides muscling up in defence now. Scores unchanged. Dragons 20-18
55 min: NEWS - Dragons captain Shaun Timmins is sin biined for giving the touch judge a mouthful.
56 min: TRY - Dragons. Nathan Blacklock snatches an intercept and runs 90m to score next to the sticks with Scott Donald in hot pursuit. A timely effort as the Sea Eagles had an overlap and looked likely to score. Conversion Riddell. Dragons 26-18
60 min: PENALTY GOAL - Sea Eagles. Williamson successful from 30m out and right in front. Dragons 26-20
65 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Donald gets a hat trick scoring in the corner. Follows repeat sets of six at the 12-man Dragons line. Conversion Williamson unsuccessful. Dragons 26-24
68 min: TRY - Dragons. Cooper gets a double scoring out wide, Follows a handling error Watmough (Sea Eagles). Conversion from Riddell comes around, hits the uprights and goes through for 2 extra points. Dragons 32-24
73 min: TRY - Dragons. Wilshere gets a double after intercepting a Harris (Sea Eagles) pass near halfway, scoring 5m in from touch. Conversion Riddell is successful. Dragons 38-24
76 min: TRY - Dragons. Blacklock intercepts and gets a double running 90m down the right flank to score. Conversion attempt from Firman is unsuccessful. Dragons 42-24
79 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Torrens scores a soft try in the corner. Conversion unsuccessful Williamson. Dragons 42-28
FULL TIME: The Dragons played well enough to come away with the points but apart from a few opportunist tries, there's nothing to write home about here. Manly's season now in turmoil and they'll have to fight hard to secure a top eight spot when crunch-time comes.