Dragons beat Cowboys to take top spot on the NRL ladder

Image rights - nrl.com
 
Dragons 24 defeat Cowboys 10.
 
Match Review.
With an upset loss to the Rabbitohs, the Dragons come into this game with a chance to jump back into first place if they could knock off the Cowboys. The Cowboys however were just happy to be home and hoping to grab the win to help minimise their chances of getting the wooden spoon.
 
The game started off fantastically for the Dragons with a penalty in the first set instantly putting them on the attack. Although they were unable to go over, the next set allowed them to go onto the attack again and a set piece play saw fullback Matt Dufty send winger Jason Nightingale over to grab an early 6-0 lead.
 
Just 6 minutes later the Cowboys were penalised only 20 metres out and oddly decided to give Johnathan Thurston the kicking tee to grab an easy two points. However it all worked out within the next 15 minutes when Dragons lock Jack De Bellin was sin binned for a professional foul in the 17th minute which allowed the Cowboys to take another 2 points and bring the game to within 2. just 3 minutes later the Cowboys went on the attack again, and a cheeky dummy half dive by back rower Gavin Cooper all of a sudden gave the Cowboys a 10-6 lead.
 
The Dragons were able to take the lead once again less than 10 minutes later through another excellent Widdop/Dufty combination which saw a beautiful set piece result in Gareth Widdop hitting Matt Dufty with a short ball to send the flying fullback racing off to score under the posts. The Dragons extended the lead out to 8 when yet again another set piece paid off when Ben Hunt saw the space, took on the line and found Tariq Sims in support to score the try and give the Dragons an 18-10 half time lead.
 
The Dragons were able continue their roll on in the second half by building the momentum before capitalising on it with a try. A bomb put up by Gareth Widdop was allowed to bounce by the Cowboys defence, Jason Nightingale then dived to tap it back to Gareth Widdop who under pressure put in an incredible pit point 30 metre chip to the corner off his left foot, which was dived on by winger Jordan Pereira to grab a try on his NRL debut and give us another amazing try of the year contender.

The remainder of the game saw half an hour of back and forth grind football. The Cowboys lifted their game up and were able to slow down the Dragons allowing them to score just the 6 points in the second half. While the Dragons did quieten down a bit in the final 30, their defence stood strong as they went under the pump quite a few times, but despite the drop in energy, the Dragons were able to take home the 14 point victory and jump the Rabbitohs to take first place on the NRL ladder by 1 single point in the point differential and await the Storm result tomorrow to see wether they stay there.
 
North Queensland Cowboys:
9' Johnathan Thurston (Penalty Goal)
18' Johnathan Thurston (Penalty Goal)
21' Gavin Cooper (Try)
22' Johnathan Thurston (Conversion)
 
St George Illawarra Dragons:
2' Jason Nightingale (Try)
4' Gareth Widdop (Conversion)
31' Matt Dufty (Try)
32' Gareth Widdop (Conversion)
37' Tariq Sims (Try)
39' Gareth Widdop (Conversion)
50' Jordan Pereira (Try)
51' Gareth Widdop (Conversion)
 
-Blake

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