St George Illawarra Dragons, inspired by their halfback combination of new-arrival Ben Hunt and England international Gareth Widdop, saw off Brisbane Broncos 34-12 to win the NRL season opener.
Tries from Tyson Frizell, Hunt, Euan Aitken, Jack de Belin and Jason Nightingale for St George could only be answered with a James Roberts double for Brisbane
The Broncos were first to score though through a Jordan Kahu penalty before two Widdop penalties earned the Dragons the lead by the 16th minute.
Frizell then scored the opening try of the NRL season to give the Dragons a 10-2 lead with Widdop goaling.
Brisbane fought back when James Roberts crashed over after good work from Jamayne Isaako.
St George regained control when controversial prop Matt Lodge through an intercept pass to former Bronco Hunt to stroll in from halfway.
Widdop then added a try assist to his tally when he found Aitken who beat his defender to plant the ball down.
Brisbane weren’t going to lie down and they responded again through Roberts off a Darius Boyd pass but St George sealed the win when, off the back of a clever tap penalty from Nightingale, de Belin crashed over before Widdop provided a try for Nightingale on the right wing.
Dragons: Dufty, MacDonald, Aitken, Lafai, Nightingale, Widdop, Hunt, Graham, McInnes, Vaughan, Frizell, Sims, de Belin; Interchanges: Leilua, Mann, Ah Mau, Latimore
Tries: Frizell, Hunt, Aitken, de Belin, Nightingale; Goals: Widdop 7
Broncos: Boyd, Oates, Roberts, Kahu, Issako, Milford, Nikorima, Lodge, Thaiday, Pangai Junior, Glenn, Gillett, McGuire; Interchanges: McCullough, Ofahenguae, Sims, Su’A
Tries: Roberts 2; Goals: Kahu 2
Full reports from all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express