Dragons thump disappointing Warriors
The St George Illawarra Dragons powered to a convincing 30-14 victory over the Warriors on Friday night, halting a three-game losing streak to remain firmly in the NRL Telstra Premiership top six.
The Dragons terrorised the Warriors with second-phase play – offloading 20 times to the Warriors' one – while Tim Lafai and Kalifa Faifai Loa had a field day down the left edge, scoring three tries between them and making a combined four line breaks.
But while the Dragons were good the home side did themselves no favours, giving up a colossal 57 missed tackles on their way to their seventh loss of the season.
Warriors prop Ben Matulino had made a dream start to his 200th NRL match, jumping on to the end of a Kieran Foran back-door pass to stroll over for a 13th minute try, which Shaun Johnson converted.
From that point on the hosts lost their way, with their right edge split wide open twice by the Dragons as they ran in two tries in four minutes.
New Zealand winger Faifai Loa finished a play which saw the ball change hands four times through a 50-metre burst, before Joel Thompson strolled wrestled over from close range after the Warriors gave away a penalty on their line.
Lafai kicked a penalty to take extend the gap to six, before scoring and converting St George Illawarra's third with seven minutes remaining in the half.
The Warriors hit back just before the break after the Dragons muffed a kick defusal and winger` Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad went over for his third career try in as many games.
Ten minutes into the second stanza the home side's inability to restrict the Dragons' second-phase cost them a fourth try, with rookie big man Hame Sele embarking on a damaging run which ended with Nene Macdonald scoring out wide.
Leading 22-10, the Dragons showed no mercy, with Faifai Loa grabbing his second, before another Kiwi, Taane Milne, crossed on the opposite side to blow the lead out to 30-10.
Nicoll-Klokstad made the final scoreline a little more respectable for the home side with his second try of the game four minutes from time, securing a double for the second straight week.
The Dragons will take the winning feeling into their first bye of the year next week, while the Warriors host the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday night.
St George Illawarra Dragons 30 (Kalifa Faifai Loa 2, Joel Thompson, Tim Lafai, Nene Macdonald, Taane Milne tries; Tim Lafai 3 goals) def. New Zealand Warriors 14 (Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2, Ben Matulino tries; Shaun Johnson 1 goal) at FMG Stadium Waikato.