Dragons devour Sea Eagles despite huge fightback
ST George Illawarra’s finals charge is back on track with a 52- 22 flogging of Manly, but only after they repelled what threatened to be the biggest comeback in NRL history.
The Dragons produced the best first half of any team this year to go 30- 0 up yesterday, before four Manly tries in the first 16 minutes after the break reduced the margin to eight at WIN Stadium. Incredibly, three of the Sea Eagles’ tries came while they were down to 12 men after prop Darcy Lussick was sin- binned for punching Dragons lock Jack de Belin.
The firebrand Manly prop was also put on report for a possible headbutt. But when Nene Macdonald leapt high to mark a Daly Cherry- Evans kick to claim a seven- tackle set, the Dragons took complete control.
“That really swung the momentum and we turned it back our way,” McGregor said.
“If it goes the other way, they get a try there and we’re really under the pump.”
Paul Vaughan barged over in the following minute, before Jason Nightingale, Euan Aitken and debutant Matt Dufty helped the Dragons become the first team to pass 50 points this year. Without injured full- back Josh Dugan, the victory kept the Saints one win ahead of ninth- placed Penrith but now well clear of the chasing pack on for- and- against.
Manly dropped to sixth, with their top- four hopes in serious strife given Trent Barrett’s men face Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters in the next fortnight. It was also the first time the Eagles had conceded 50 since August 2005.
Paul Vaughan barged over.