St George Illawarra Dragons have denied 200 game Raiders veteran Dane Tilse a memorable win, stunning the Canberra faithful by coming from eight points down late in the match to run out 22-20 victors.
Late second half tries scored by the Red V’s Mitch Rein and Joel Thompson sealed the two point victory, giving the Raiders only three minutes to try and reply.
The Raiders couldn’t re-instate the hoodoo that has plagued St George for 13 years. After a promising first half performance from the Green Machine, scoring three tries in quick succession, the Dragons replied in the second half to give themselves their first win of the season.
The forty minutes was an even contest with the Raiders piling on the pressure early and the Dragons coming back late to go into the half 18-8
Canberra took full advantage of repeat sets and early penalties conceded by St George.
Josh Hodgson opened the scoring in the 8th minute powering over the try line just next to the uprights, leaving an easy conversion for Croker for a 6-0 lead.
Mitch Cornish then showed in the 14th minute how dangerous he is from dummy half. Taking the ball up to the line and passing it to Iosia Soliola, who ran into a hole to put the Green Machine up 12-0 after the conversion.
St George’s errors kept giving The Raiders perfect field position, and the Green Machine made them pay.
After a Dragons knock on, Blake Austin took the ball up to the line and fooled everyone with the dummy which saw him score an easy try under the posts. Jarrod Crocker converted the easy attempt to put Canberra up 18-0.
The Red V fought back through a try late in the half, when Trent Merin took the ball from dummy half and scored next to the uprights after soft defense from The Raiders.
Gareth Widdop was pin point with his kicking, converting the try and a late penalty to end the half 18-8.
The second half saw the Red V come out firing when captain, Jason Nightingale scored in the corner just on the 47th minute. Widdop failed to convert leaving the score 18-12.
The Green Machine replied quickly, with Jarrod Croker converting a penalty from right in front to restore their eight point lead 20-12.
Momentum was soon wrestled back by The Dragons when Mitch Rein split Canberra’s defense and ran 30 metres to score just under the posts. Gareth Widdop missed the conversion having Canberra lead 20-16.
The Dragons then sealed the victory when Joel Thompson showed off his strength, shedding defenders at will falling over the try line levelling the score 20-20. Gareth Widdop stood up when it mattered and successfully converted securing the two point victory for St George.