2019-04-14 by W.M.
‘Stop it’: Dragons’ try for the ages
A Ben Hunt-inspired St George Illawarra silenced their early-season critics by romping home over a hapless Canterbury 40-4 to claim their third straight victory.
Hunt was the chief engineer of a sharp Dragons attack that ran in seven tries to one to surge into the top eight for the first time this season.
The fourth-placed Raiders cemented themselves in the top four by dominating the Parramatta Eels in a 19-0 victory in the nation’s capital.
Eels suffer Ferguson blow in loss to Raiders
It was a night to forget for the Parramatta Eels in Canberra.
Not only were they held scoreless in a 19-0 loss to the Canberra Raiders but start signing Blake Ferguson suffered suspected broken ribs.
Ferguson has been amongst the Eels best this season and been influential in their rise.
Ferguson left the field in the second half of the match in which tries to Jack Wighton, Josh Papalii and Elliott Whitehead were enough to stop an Eels side who were barely there.
Wighton’s try was the most impressive as the former fullback climbed high to catch a bomb and score their final try.
— NRL (@NRL 14 April 2019
The Eels were insipid and delivered a performance that reminded everyone just why they got the wooden spoon in 2018 as they completed just over half of their sets (19 out of 34.
They also allowed the Raiders to break 49 tackles — missed an astonishing 53 tackles and made 18 errors to Canberra’s 12 in the loss.
Canberra halfback Sam Williams added a field goal in the dying stages to make the score 19-0.
Hunt caps special game with freak try
Ben Hunt was involved in six of the Dragon’s seven tries against the Bulldogs in easily his best outing of the year — including putting the finishing touches on one of the scores of the season.
Hunt, who was instrumental all night in the 40-4 win, scored the sealer under the posts in what was a remarkable try that went through multiple sets of hands.
Jordan Pereira managed to bring the ball back in from outside the sideline before it came back to the middle and Hunt threw a spinning basketball pass to Corey Norman, who also chucked in a full spin for bonus points before finding Hunt, who then scored the try. “Stop it,” exclaimed commentator Peter Sterling.
The only downside in the domination was a second-half ankle injury to Paul Vaughan. The impressive rout goes a long way to restoring the faith of a fanbase that watched their side lose their opening two games by double digit margins.
Then they feared the worst when skipper Gareth Widdop went down with another shoulder injury in round three that has scratched him for most of the season.
But in a silver lining to his absence, coach Paul McGregor has been allowed to finally settle a spinal combination that cranked into top gear against the Bulldogs.
His side hasn’t lost since Widdop’s injury, beginning with consecutive one-point wins before putting on a show for the 13,409 crowd at Kogarah.
Hunt had revamped attack humming from the kick-off, beginning with a 15th-minute try assist for Euan Aitken to score the opener.
Then with the Bulldogs surging into their 20m zone, Hunt stripped Rhyse Martin one-on-one before racing 70m upfield.
— The Dragons (@NRL_Dragons April 14, 2019
Tim Lafai made it a two-try lead moments later, however Hunt wasn’t done. Continuing to play on the front foot, the Kangaroos representative produced a cutout for Mikaele Ravalawa to make it a commanding 18-0 lead at halftime. The avalanche continued after the break, with Ravalawa crossing in the 59th minute and Hunt accepted gifts for the final two tries.
First he pounced on an attempted Kerrod Holland offload before doing the same on a Jayden Okbunbor dropped bomb to set up Zac Lomax.
However Hunt saved his best for last, twice getting involved in a remarkable last-minute four-pointer that ended in him scoring under the posts.
— with AAP