St George Illawarra have defeated Canterbury Bankstown 28-26 in an open and entertaining Holden Cup game at ANZ Stadium.
In perfect winter conditions, the Bulldogs charged back from a 22-6 half time deficit to level the scores with ten minutes to go, before a Dragons penalty goal iced the game for the visitors.
Tristan Sailor put the Dragons on the board first before Matheson Johns scored the first of his two tries in the 12th minute. The Bulldogs hit back with a deserved try to Jayden Okunbor who steamed onto a flat Michael Doolan pass to cross next to the posts, before the Dragons extended their lead with tries to Fa’atui Uele and Joe Lovodua closing out an entertaining first half.
The Young Pups pushed the top four Dragons in the second half with a spirited three-try display.
Jayden Okunbor got things started crashing over next to the posts early in the half. The second rower started the move with a great offload to Dalton Smith who burst down the field. The ball then went on to Brandon Wakeham and then to Kiko Manu who was pulled down just before the line.
The Bulldogs added their third try when Tui Katoa crashed over before adding two more tries to level the scores at 26-26. Cameron Scott charged onto a great inside ball from Jayden Okunbor for the first while the second rower then grabbed his hat trick in the same spot as his earlier two, cracking the Dragons wide open on the left side.
A late Dragons penalty goal closed out the game for the visitors, with the win cementing their place in the Holden Cup top four.
Dragons 28 (Matheson Johns 2, Tristan Sailor, Fa’atui Uele, Joe Lovodua tries; Zac Lomax 3 goals, 1 penalty goal) def. Bulldogs 26 (Jayden Okunbor 3, Tui Katoa, Cameron Scott tries; Brandon Wakeham 3 goals) in the Holden Cup at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: 22-6