The St George Illawarra Dragons have comfortably defeated the North Queenland Cowboys by 36-16 in Townsville tonight.
Following late first half tries, the Dragons went into half time leading 18-6 but with some work to do.
The Dragons fired up in the second half and eventually scored six tries to three to run out easy winners.
COWBOYS 16 Tries: Sing, Bowman, Bowen Goals: Hannay 0/1, Morrison 2/3 defeated by DRAGONS 36 Tries: Gasnier 2, Young, Hornby, Leikvoll, Kite Goals: Riddell 6/6, Firman 0/1
Saturday 19 July 2003 7:30 PM Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: P Simpkins
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Firman (Dragons) 2 - M Gasnier (Dragons) 1 - L Bailey (Dragons)
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!
4 min: Great attacking raid from the Cowboys but Matt Bowman loses the ball over the line.
6 min: NO GOAL. Penalty shot from Josh Hannay hits the uprights and bounces back into the field of play with the Dragons gaining possession.
12 min: TRY - Dragons. Dean Young dives over courtesy of a great short pass from Shaun Timmins. Conversion: Mark Riddell makes no mistake. Dragons 6-0
20 min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Sing scores next to the uprights. Glenn Morrison coverts as Hannay is forced from the field with injury. 6-all
30 min: No change to score. End to end play but both sides making errors and handing over possession.
37 min: TRY - Dragons. Mark Gasnier scores against the run of the play. Howell intercepts and finds Gasnier in support who shows too much pace for the cover defence. Riddell's Conversion from right in front is successful. Dragons 12-6
39 min: TRY - Dragons. Ben Hornby scores following a face ball from Brett Firman. Excellent set play. Riddell right in front successful. Dragons 18-6
HALF TIME: A terrific first 40 minutes with plenty of action... but closer than the score indicates. Dragons 18-6
Teams back on the field... second half underway....
41 min: NEWS - Dragons start the second half with a bust from Gasnier... Saints showing no respect for the opposition and coming within a whisker of scoring.
44 min: PENALTY GOAL - Dragons. Riddell bursts forward and the defence is found offside. A try was on the cards. Riddell adds the points from right in front. Dragons 20-6
49 min: NEWS - St George well and truly on the attack and come close to scoring again after a pass from Gasnier to Blacklock fails to find its mark.
51 min: NEWS- A counter attack from the Cowboys almost sees a try. A kick from Williams is defused by Blacklock and Saints gain posesssion.
54 min: TRY - Cowboys. Paul Bowman scores following a grubber kick which the Dragons were unable to clean up. Difficult conversion from Morrison misses. Dragons 20-10
58 min: TRY - Dragons. Mark Gasnier scores following another deft kick from Brett Firman. Perhaps the turning point of the match. Conversion from Firman is unsuccessful. Dragons 24-10
64 min: NEWS - Tremendous attacking raid from from the Cowboys following a bust from Strickland. Only equaled from some great last ditch defence from the Dragons who have held out the North Queenlanders. Firman kicks a 40/20 in the following set and Saints are on the attack again.
67 min: NO TRY - Saints come close to locking it up but obstruction rule goes against them. Kevin Campion (Cowboys) knocks-on following the penalty.
69 min: TRY - Dragons. Chris Leikvoll crashes over. Riddell converts... all over red rover. Dragons 30-10
71 min: TRY - Dragons. Brent Kite scores off a Hornby pass as the Saints are lining up to score. Riddell converts... the Cowboys capitulate. Dragons 36-10
80 min: TRY - Cowboys. Bowen gets a consolation try under the posts. Morrison converts. Dragons 36-16
FULL TIME: Saints win their first game in FNQ and fall back into the top eight.