St George Illawarra Dragons opened the World Club Series with an 18-12 victory over Warrington Wolves tonight at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
And they were able to punish several key mistakes made by the Wolves, while they also were fortunate not to have winger Eto Nabuli and halfback Benji Marshall sinbinned for high tackles.
St George took the lead after 75 seconds, when Tyson Frizell streaked over the line shortly after Ashton Sims had dropped the ball running it out of defence. Gareth Widdop added the conversion.
Warrington replied through the mercurial Gareth O’Brien, who was fed by Richie Myler, ran inside Benji Marshall and superbly dummied fullback Josh Dugan to touch down. And O’Brien converted his own try to tie the scores.
The Dragons went in front again, however, after another Warrington mistake, this time from Richie Myler who dropped the ball at dummy-half. The Dragons didn’t need another invitation, and within a minute they were over again through Joel Thompson touching down a Widdop grubber, with Widdop converting.
The Wolves scored again, however, on 30 minutes, when a brilliant pass by Gary Wheeler put Ryan Atkins over the line, although this time O’Brien couldn’t add the goal, and the 10-12 scoreline held until the interval.
Warrington levelled the scores after 57 minutes after O’Brien suffered a high tackle from Marshall, and converted the penalty.
But after a reckless offload by Ryan Atkins Josh Dugan was able to touch down a reverse grubber by Marshall, and Widdop was able to add the goal.
With five minutes remaining Joel Monaghan was unable to hold a tryscoring pass from Chris Bridge, while Marshall tried to add to the victory margin with a late field-goal attempt that drifted wide.
A full report, photos and analysis will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.