Canberra Raiders welcome St George Illawarra Dragons to GIO Stadium, as both sides looked to bounce back from tough defeats last weekend.
The first try came after just five minutes as Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad dummied his way past one Dragons defender, then pushed the ball out to Nick Cotric who then powered over Matt Dufty to score in the corner.
Cotric’s try meant he had been the opening scoring in the same fixture for the last four seasons.
After a few mistakes from the Dragons, Canberra grabbed a second try in the 15th minute.
George Williams kicked to the right-hand corner, and Bailey Simonsson climbed higher than anyone else and as he hit the ground stretched his right arm over the line to score.
Elliot Whitehead along with Cotric and Wighton combined down the left edge with 25 minutes gone as the Raiders searched for try number three.
Fortunately for the Dragons, Jason Saab cleared up the crossfield kick a few tackles later to avoid falling further behind.
A few minutes later, the Dragons had an attacking chance of their own, but a poor fifth tackle kick from Corey Norman was a poor end to a set that should have brought points.
The Raiders did manage to grab a third try before the break, and this time, it was the turn of George Williams to show his class, as he identified a huge gap in between Korbin Sims and the ruck, stepped off his left foot and slid over for his first NRL try.
HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 18-0 St George Illawarra Dragons
Despite the pressure being put on them by the Dragons, the Raiders managed to hold out in defence but then bounced back to pick up try number four.
Josh Hodgson popped out from dummy-half, then pushed the ball onto Jack Wighton, who dribbled a kick in behind the St George try-line.
This looked to be too heavy for anyone to get a hold of, but Jared Croker kept chasing the ball and managed to ground it for a try just before the dead-ball line.
With 20 minutes to go, the Dragons finally picked up a well-deserved try.
Corey Norman took the ball to the line and kicked along the floor for the onrushing Matt Dufty to score.
Five minutes later, the Dragons picked up back-to-back tries.
Zac Lomax made a half-break outside Croker to offload to Saab, the winger then passed back inside to the centre, who raced over to score.
Lomax converted his own score to make it 22-10 with 15 minutes remaining.
With the Dragons in the ascendency, and looking to pick up try number three, they attacked the right edge again through Lomax.
Unfortunately, the centre twisted his knee under the tackle of Croker, which put a stop to the momentum for his side.
He managed to stay on the field though, and St George forced a repeat set after trapping Nicoll-Klokstad in-goal.
After a baffling captain’s challenge call against the Dragons which should have been successful, the Raiders played a perfect exit set, and kicked the ball over the touchline, deep into the Dragons half in an attempt to ice the game.
That didn’t stop the Dragons though, Euan Aitken ran the ball hard and fast to break through the Raiders. With just Nicoll-Klokstad to beat, he passed inside the Matt Dufty who scored under the posts.
Lomax converted quickly, to give them a minute to find a try to take the game to golden-point.
Corey Norman attempted a high-bomb in the final seconds, but nobody claimed the ball, which then bounced into touch for the end of the game.
FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 22-16 St George Illawarra Dragons
Nicoll-Klokstad, Simonsson, Croker, Oldfield, Cotric, Wighton, Williams, Soliola, Hodgson, Guler, Young, Whitehead, Sutton
Interchanges: Papalii, Tapine, Scott, Havili
Tries: Cotric, Simonsson, Williams, Croker
Goals: Croker (3/4)
St George Illawarra Dragons
Dufty, Saab, Aitken, Lomax, Ravalawa, Norman, Clune, Lawrie, McInnes, Vaughan, Frizelll, Fuimaono, Merrin
Interchanges: Hunt, Kerr, Sims, Ford
Tries: Dufty (2), Lomax
Goals: Lomax (2/3)
Referee: M. Cecchin
Touch Judges: H. Perenara, D. Oultram
Video Referee: B. Lowe
Image Source: @NRL_Dragons (Twitter)