Match Report – Disappointing Loss to Dragons – Round 13 Intrust Super Premiership

Image: Curtis Johnston - Intrust Super Premiership | North Sydney Vs St George Illawarra | North Sydney Oval. Photo Steve Little.

The dynamic halves-pairing of Darren Nicholls and Jai Field has engineered a relentless second-half blitz from the Dragons as they recorded a commanding 28-10 victory over the North Sydney Bears on Saturday afternoon.

Back-to-back tries in the first-half saw the Dragons take a comfortable 10-nil lead after half-an-hour, but a try to Dean Britt in the dying stages kept the Bears well and truly in the contest with just a converted try the difference.

“Yes, it was a little bit windy and wet out there,” said forward Rys Kennedy, “but we need to take those weather conditions into consideration and hold the ball and complete our sets which we did not do today.”

But three tries within a dominant nine-minute period, including two stunning four-pointers from Field, helped seal their second unanswered victory in convincing style.

“We need to work on ourselves really,” claimed North Sydney player-of-the-match Tarquinn Alatipi-Butler. “Individual efforts like holding the ball & talk in the tackle. So we’ve got a lot to work on next week.”

Patrick Herbert put in a starring man of the match performance after an early try set the tone for the away side, before he set up an incredible try for Field in the second-half to ice an impressive individual performance.

The Dragons threatened early with some well-executed backline movements opening up some space down the left-hand touchline, but they were unable to capitalise on their chances with some costly handling errors.

But while a majority of the opening 15 minutes was played through the middle-third, it was the Dragons who drew first blood after a determined effort from Herbert close to the line helped claim first points of the afternoon.

They extended their lead when a towering Darren Nicholls bomb was fumbled by Bears fullback Jesse Arthurs, with Reuben Garrick picking up the scraps to cross in the left-hand corner.

Nicholls was unable to convert at the Dragons took a 10-0 lead after 30 minutes.

Momentum swung when a rampaging Zane Musgrove made a break through the middle-third to give his side valuable field position, and although they were unable to take advantage just a few tackles later, they eventually found their way when Dean Britt pounced on a deft kick from Billy Brittain for a crucial try just before half-time.

Dean Hawkins couldn’t convert just to the left of the uprights as the Dragons held onto a slender 10-4 advantage at the break.

After a host of chances went begging just after the break for the Dragons, Nicholls took it upon himself to spark his side with a spirited individual effort from just 10 metres out which saw the dynamic halfback brush off three clutching Bears defenders on his way to the try-line.

Brimming with confidence, Jai Field bolstered their lead when he latched onto a pin-point chip kick from Herbert after the livewire fullback broke through some flimsy Bears defence off the ensuing set for a scintillating four-pointer.

Nicholls converted to take a comfortable 22-4 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Field looked threatening with the ball-in-hand after he inspired a Garrick break with some nifty footwork helping him get on the outside of the opposition defenders, but a desperate Hawkins saved the Bears after he intercepted a Garrick offload.

Just moments later, the floodgates opened after Reece Robson took advantage of a quick play-the-ball with a darting run, before a late offload for Field saw the five-eighth show incredible pace to burn Arthurs for his second unanswered try.

A Connor Tracey try in the final ten minutes salvaged some pride for the Bears after a disappointing performance, as the Dragons ran away with an 18-point victory and two much-needed competition points.

ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 28 (tries: Patrick Herbert, Reuben Garrick, Darren Nicholls, Jai Field 2, conversions: Darren Nicholls 4),
defeated NORTH SYDNEY BEARS 10 (try: Dean Britt, Connor Tracey, conversion: Dean Hawkins).
Tuesday team | match day team