NYC Dragons survive second-half jitters

The Dragons maintained their spot in the Holden Cup top four following a nervy 28-26 win over the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Monday afternoon. 

A sloppy start had the Bulldogs on the back foot from the get-go and the young Dragons took full advantage with Triston Sailor backing up a big break down the right edge to bag his 12th try of the season.   

It didn't take long for the Red V to extend their lead when Matheson Johns completed a slick right-to-left shift to cross in the corner before Fa'atui Uele took advantage of a spilled bomb to crash over to make it 16-0 after 24 minutes. 

A period of sustained pressure saw the Bulldogs pepper the Dragons' line for five minutes until Jayden Okunbor finally broke through to get the hosts on the board. 

Canterbury's joy was short-lived as a brilliant offload by Tom Angel in traffic caught the defence napping to allow Dragons lock Joe Lovodua to stroll over five minutes out from half-time to give his side a 22-6 lead. 

The Bulldogs exploded out of the blocks in the second half with a stunning passage of play down the left edge coming unstuck a metre short of the line, only for Okunbor to finish off what he started to barge over for his second four-pointer of the afternoon.  

Their momentum was momentarily halted when Matheson Johns leapt over in the left corner to complete his double to restore the Dragons' 16-point buffer, but Tui Katoa pegged one back for the hosts in the 55th minute to keep his side in the game. 

Canterbury simply wouldn't go away and cut into the lead when fullback Cameron Scott reeled in an Okunbor offload to score next to the posts before the long-haired back-rower did it all himself to complete his hat-trick and level the scores. 

However, the Bulldogs undid all their hard work by conceding a penalty within range that Zac Lomax comfortably knocked over and then sent the ensuing kick-off out on the full to concede crucial field position late in the contest. 

Dragons 28 (Matheson Johns 2, Tristan Sailor, Fa'atui Uele, Joe Lovodua tries; Zac Lomax 4 goals) def. Bulldogs 26 (Jayden Okunbor 3, Tui Katoa, Cameron Scott tries; Brandon Wakeham 3 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: 22-6.