Rugby League

Hunt all class as Dragons open their account for 2024

February 24, 2024 4:48 pm

[Source: NRL]

The Dragons gave new coach Shane Flanagan his first win as they outclassed Wests Tigers 34-18 at Glen Willow Oval in Mudgee on Saturday night.

After a disappointing loss to the Rabbitohs in week one of the Pre-Season Challenge, the Dragons hit back in style with skipper Ben Hunt, centre Jack Bird and a rampaging Jaydn Su’a leading the charge.

On the back of a long break by Tyrell Sloan it was the Dragons grabbing the opening try through Hunt off a Kyle Flanagan kick in the 13th minute.

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The Red V had a second just four minutes later when centre Moses Suli surged onto a short ball from Jacob Liddle and stormed over to make it 12-0.

A mistake by Jahream Bula off a Hunt high ball gave the Dragons field position and they made the Tigers pay through a rampaging Mikaele Ravalawa. A third conversion of the night for Zac Lomax made it 18-0.

Suli got across the line again in the 26th minute but the try was disallowed due to obstruction in the lead-up by Su’a.

The Dragons had a fourth try late in the half when Bird beat a number of defenders before the ball ended up with Hunt who grubbered for himself and planted it down just inside the dead ball line.

A bell ringer by Junior Tupou on Bird forced an error and gave the Tigers a late shot at points and it was Jahream Bula who produced the dazzling footwork to turn Sloan inside out and make it 24-6 at the break.

The Dragons went further ahead early in the second half when Bird put a pinpoint grubber into the corner for Lomax to dot down and secure a five-try bonus point.

Wests Tigers five-eighth Jayden Sullivan then showed a touch of class to send Fonua Pole over with a quality offload and the margin was cut to 16 points.

With 61 minutes on the clock it was Hunt taking the ball to the line and getting an offload to Raymond Faitala-Mariner who turned Sloan underneath him for the Dragons’ sixth of the night.

Lomax knocked over the simple conversion for a 34-12 lead and that’s how it stayed until the 78th minute when youngster Heath Mason left Sloan in his wake with a neat step to grab a consolation try for Wests Tigers.