The St George Illawarra Dragons have finished a poor 2013 season with a hard-fought 19-10 upset win over the New Zealand Warriors in front of just over 9,000 fans.
The first half was a grinding affair, with the early stages being a test with both sides trying to figure out the weaknesses of their opposition.
The Dragons were the first to try the expansive play however on both occasions the passes went astray through knock one and then a forward pass.
The opening points came to the Warriors through Elijah Taylor after the ball bounced off Manu Vatuvei’s back and allowed Taylor to ground the ball.
The Dragons managed to score through rookie Adam Quinlan to take a 6-4 lead which was the score at the half time break.
The second half started the brightest for the Dragons with Nathan Green scoring early on to push the lead out to 10-4.
The Warriors hit back to bring it for 10 all, then went on the attack with strong attack with the Dragons having to defend their own goalline for a five minute period and after desperate defence they managed to keep the Warriors scoreless during that period.
The Dragons then managed to kick a field goal through Josh Drinkwater in the 72nd minute, the lead then looked risky as Shaun Johnson tried for an intercept but could only get fingertips to it. The Warriors tried some hot potato football but all came to an end with a knock on.
On the stroke of full time another Dragons rookie, this time Charly Runciman, scored to cap the upset victory.
The loss consigns the end of the season for the Warriors, who needed to win and then have results go their way to get to the finals. The Dragons jumped to 14th pending the result of the Tigers game against the Cowboys later the same night.
St. George Illawarra Dragons 19 New Zealand Warriors 10
Venue: WIN Stadium
Halftime Score: St. George Illawarra Dragons 6-4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Nathan Green
2 points - Josh Drinkwater
1 point - Nathan Fien
ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (19)
Tries: Adam Quinlan, Nathan Green, Charly Runciman
Field Goals: Josh Drinkwater (1/1)
Conversions: Adam Quinlan (1/1), Chase Stanley (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Chase Stanley (1/1)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (10)
Tries: Elijah Taylor, Manu Vatuvei
Field Goals: Kevin Locke (0/1)
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Nathan Green comes onto the wing for the Dragons with Daniel Vidot out of the side having played NSW Cup earlier this afternoon. Tyson Frizell has been ruled out with injury, Bronson Harrison replaces him in the second row. Finally, Michael Weyman has been given a starting spot back with Jack Stockwell shifting to the bench.
Sio Siua Taukeiaho makes his NRL debut for the Warriors this afternoon as he has been included on the bench. Jerome Ropati and Dane Nielsen have been ruled out with injury
Dragons: 1. Jason Nightingale 2. Brett Morris 3. Chase Stanley 4. Charly Runciman 22. Nathan Green 6. Adam Quinlan 7. Nathan Fien 15. Michael Weyman 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ben Creagh (c) 16. Bronson Harrison 12. Leeson Ah Mau 13. Jack de Belin
Interchange: 8. Jack Stockwell 14. Matt Prior 19. Will Matthews 17. Josh Drinkwater
Warriors: 1. Kevin Locke 18. Ngani Laumape 17. Dominique Peyroux 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Sam Rapira 9. Nathan Friend 10. Suaia Matagi 11. Elijah Taylor 12. Simon Mannering (C) 13. Todd Lowrie
Interchange: 14. Ben Matulino 15. Jacob Lillyman 16. Feleti Mateo 20. Sio Siua Taukeiaho
Todd Lowrie makes an unforced error.
Warriors can't capitalise on brilliant attacking position
Scored by Elijah Taylor. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson unsuccessful.
TRY awarded by the Video Referees, explanation was that the ball came off the back of Manu Vatuvei & Elijah Taylor grounds it
New Zealand Warriors 4-0
Dominique Peyroux makes an unforced error.
Another error from the Warriors, Dom Peyroux loses the ball
Scored by Adam Quinlan. Conversion attempt by Adam Quinlan successful.
Excellent catch and pass play there from the Dragons, with so many players backing up and Adam Quinlan is the man who scores
St. George Illawarra Dragons 6-4
Manu Vatuvei makes an unforced error.
Manu Vatuvei goes high for the ball but knocks it on, first chance of points to Dragons in the 2nd half
Scored by Nathan Green. Conversion attempt by Chase Stanley unsuccessful.
Video Referees give the green lights on the try, conversion across the face
St. George Illawarra Dragons 10-4
Ben Matulino makes an unforced error.
Trying to play catch up footy the warriors drop the ball
Scored by Manu Vatuvei. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
The Beast scores, a mixed day for Manu Vatuvei comes up with a try, off a Nathan Friend cross field kick
Field goal attempt by Kevin Locke unsuccessful.
Kevin Locke tries for a field goal from 40m out but misses
Field goal attempt by Josh Drinkwater successful.
After being an unwanted player mid-season, Josh Drinkwater could be a hero after slotting the field goal to push the lead to 1
St. George Illawarra Dragons 11-10
Penalty goal attempt by Chase Stanley successful.
Chase Stanley slots the penalty goal
St. George Illawarra Dragons 13-10
Scored by Charly Runciman. Conversion attempt by Chase Stanley successful.
Charly Runciman scores make sure victory for the Dragons
St. George Illawarra Dragons 19-10