Dragons edge Sharks in derby
Despite keeping their opponents scoreless in the second half the Sharks have failed to register their first win of the 2014 season in going down by two points the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Sharks certainly had their chances, however a combination of some desperate St George defense and errors at inopportune times saw the visitors sneak away with a 14-12 victory.
The loss leaves the Sharks winless after three games but with some confidence gained by the improved performance and a couple of key players due to return, the outlook remained positive post-match in spite of the final score line.
The Dragons opened the scoring and it was Brett Morris crossing for the first of his two tries, the Kangaroo winger grounding the ball just centimetres from the corner post.
On the back of some good field position the Sharks worked their was back into the contest and it was hooker John Morris fooling the defense with a dummy and diving over untouched to put on the Sharks first points.
Michael Gordon was on target and the Sharks were in front 6-4.
The Dragons retook the lead during the later stages of the first half and this time it was the winger on the other side of the field Jason Nightingale leaping high over his opposite number to score in the north eastern corner.
For the second time on the night Gareth Widdop hit the upright with his conversion attempt and the Dragons were in front 8-6.
Then just when it appeared the Sharks would go to the break trailing by two, there was more Morris magic to extend the Dragons lead, the Kangaroo winger scoring a freakish try on the end of a Widdop kick.
This time the Englishman slotted the kick from near to the sideline and the Dragons would go to half time ahead 14-6.
With the rain gone but with a cool southerly now blowing down the field the second half became somewhat scrappy, with neither side being able to add to their half time tallies for the first 29 minutes of the period.
And it was again a Morris to break the scoreless drought, Sharks hooker John scoring his second after some frantic passing between Carney, then Gordon and finally Morris who managed to get the ball down near the Dragons line.
Gordon kicked the conversion and with a tick over 10 minutes on the clock it was anybody’s game at 14-12 Dragons.
As hard as the Sharks tried over the final period of the game they couldn’t edge back in front, the Dragons holding on for their third win of the 2014 season.
Backing up from a big loss to the Bulldogs only five days prior the effort was much improved from the Sharks, with Todd Carney adding some spark in attack and forwards Bryce Gibbs and Isaac De Gois effective in the middle of the field.
De Gois’ defensive performance in particular was a stand out, the pint-sized hooker leveling the big Dragons forwards with copybook tackling.
The Sharks now have a week to again regroup ahead of a trip to Newcastle to take on the Knights next Sunday at Hunter Stadium.
John Morris 2 tries, Michael Gordon 2 goals
St George Illawarra 14
Brett Morris 2, Jason Nightingale tries, Gareth Widdop goal