In Paul McGregor’s last game as head coach, the St George Illawarra Dragons face the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium, with the home side just a few wins away to securing a top-four spot.
In just the sixth minute, the Eels looked to have opened the scores as Mitchell Moses kick ricocheted off the right-hand upright, and was grounded by Junior Paulo.
However, the big man bounced the ball before the grounding and the scores remained nil-nil.
The wet weather was making it very difficult for the game to be played in an open style, as a few knock-ons occurred between both sides.
The was until the 14th minute when Waqa Blake picked up an inside ball from Moses and broke clean through the Dragons defence.
With just Matt Dufty to beat, Blake passed inside to Clint Gutherson in support who raced away to score behind the posts.
With 20 minutes gone, the Dragons began to work themselves back into the game with both Adam Clune and Corey Norman beginning to run the ball more in attack.
A few minutes later, Zac Lomax outjumped Clint Gutherson to claim a high bomb, and as he hit the deck, offloading and the ball was picked up by Mikaele Ravalawa off the ground, and the Fijian slid over.
On the half an hour mark, St George attacked down their left edge, and Jordan Pereira picked up the ball on the ten-metre line.
He stepped inside Jennings, pushed off Blake, and then looked to have grounded the ball on his back over his head.
However, his hand brushed the touchline, just an inch too wide before the tip of the ball was grounded and it remained a two-point deficit for the visitors.
With 6 minutes to go until the break, Maika Sivo found himself one on one with Ravalawa with the two Fijians going toe-to-toe.
Fortunately for Dragons fans, it was their big winger who did enough to force Sivo to drop the ball.
Just a minute later, it was 2-0 to Ravalawa over Sivo as the Dragons spread the ball over the right-edge, as the Eels winger shot in, missed the ball, and Ravalawa was too strong for Gutherson and Dylan Brown and dive over and score in the corner.
HALF-TIME: Parramatta Eels 6-10 St George Illawarra Dragons
The Eels didn’t take long to level up as Kane Evans charged through Lachlan Burr and Blake Lawrie and twisted out the tackle to slam the ball down.
Moses converted to make it 12-10.
With the game so tight, neither team wanted to make an error and a midfield battle continued as each team looked for a chink in the other’s armour.
Just before the hour mark, Reagan Campbell-Gillard was penalised for a high tackle in front of the posts.
The gave Lomax the chance to level the scores and he duly delivered from the tee.
With 15 minutes remaining, Jacob Host made a break down the middle of the park and pushed the ball out to the faster Jordan Pereira.
Despite being tackle, Pereira managed to play the ball quickly, which allowed Ben Hunt to chip over the top. The ball was then collected by Kaide Ellis to dive over and score.
Unfortunately, Ellis was deemed to have knocked the ball forward into the arm of Sivo before claiming the ball.
With the try disallowed, the Dragons were awarded a penalty due to Reed Mahoney being called offside.
Lomax once again added two points from in front of the posts for a slender two-point lead.
The drama continued as Blake Ferguson was caught on the last tackle right on the touchline and somehow managed to kick back infield.
With a few Eels players offside, everyone looked to shut down with the ball looking to go dead.
That was everyone but Mahoney, who was onside and raced to dot down the ball.
Unfortunately, the ball was grounded just on the dead-ball line.
Time was ticking by quickly for the Eels, as another knock-on allowed the Dragons to start a set on the halfway line.
With three minutes to go, Clune put a deft kick through which was being chased by Norman, unfortunately the half-back knocked the ball on and the Eels picked up a seven-tackle set to try and seal the two-points.
The Eels reached the try-line but Ravalawa cleaned up the last tackle kick on the dead-ball line, pushed the ball to Pereira and the Dragons marched clear.
30 seconds were left on the clock when the Eels picked up the ball, but Moses kick was dived on by Dufty for a valuable win for the Dragons and McGregor in his final game in charge.
Gutherson, Sivo, Jennings, Blake, Ferguson, Brown, Moses, Campbell-Gillard, Mahoney, Paulo, Lane, Matterson, Brown
Interchanges: Stone, Niukore, Evans, Kaufusi
Tries: Gutherson, Evans
Goals: Moses (2/2)
St George Illawarra Dragons
Dufty, Pereira, Aitken, Lomax, Ravalawa, Norman, Clune, Lawrie, Hunt, Kerr, Frizell, Fuimaono, McInnes
Interchanges: Sailor, Ellis, Sims, Host
Tries: Ravalawa (2)
Goals: Lomax (3/4)
Referee: G. Atkins
Touch Judges: Z. Przeklasa-Adamski, B. Sharpe
Video Referee: B. Scott
Image Source: @NRL (twitter)