The St George Illawarra Dragons secured their second win of the season as they defeated Mounties 36-22 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
The Dragons started the game strong by marching up the field after back-to-back undisciplined Mounties penalties. The ball was quickly sent through multiple pairs of hands to winger James Schiller who crossed the line for the first try, minutes into the game.
Mounties responded immediately with second-rower Jack Miller breaking the home team’s line in their second set after the restart of play. A quick play-the-ball provided the energy for winger Watson Heleta to show off his speed and score the visitors' first try.
Mounties found their momentum, showcasing an aggressive style of first-receiver runs through the middle of the field and forcing Dragons errors through high-pressure line speed. Unfortunately they were unable to convert field position into points with multiple wayward cut-out passes to their left edge, landing over the boundary just metres from the try line.
Despite absorbing pressure on both ends of the field, the Dragons were able to find themselves in perfect try-scoring position through creative fifth-tackle kick placement, resulting in a Mounties knock-on just in front of the try line. A quick scrum caught out the defence as the ball was sent to the short side with the fast-footed Tyrell Sloan scoring to keep the home team in front.
The Dragons crossed again just before the halftime siren as interchange Joshua Coric barrelled over a disjointed Mounties try line defence, unravelling from a potential try-saving tackle to get the ball onto the grass.
Mounties were first to score after the break for a much needed try to keep themselves in the game. Running in support of his fellow forward pack, hooker Josh Daley charged through the Dragons' defence to score left of the posts. A conversion by Kamren Cryer reduced the Dragons' lead to only a converted try.
The lead was pushed further ahead after two unanswered Dragons tries as Tony Pellow dived onto a grubber behind Mounties' try-line defence and Josh Carr muscled through, fully extending his arm to place the ball onto the line and help the home team to an 18-point lead after successful Moceidreke conversions.
Mounties secured their third try of the game as centre Reubenn Rennie tapped the ball metres from the line to his edge partner Jordan Remfrey after a Jack Miller offload.
Clearly under pressure to make up a 12-point deficit, Mounties Fullback Declan Casey was sent to the sin bin for the final ten minutes of the game after he interfered in a Jaiyden Hunt play-the-ball when the prop streamed down the middle of the field.
Despite the absence of Casey, Mounties managed to cross for one final try as Reubenn Rennie broke through the middle of the Dragons' defence. A quick play-the-ball kept the Dragons' defence on the back foot throughout the set as Falakiko Manu crossed with less than four minutes to go.
Playing against an undermanned defensive line, the Dragons managed to score another converted try on the siren as Shaun Sauni-Esau exploited an overlap on Mounties' right edge to secure his team’s second win of the season.