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Dragons leave it late to stun Souths

Without a try for more than two and a half hours, St George Illawarra somehow conjured up three in 13 minutes to stun NRL competition leaders South Sydney 22-18 in a golden point win which kept the Dragons' season alive.
Dragons leave it late to stun Souths
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, July 22 AAP - Without a try for more than two and a half hours, St George Illawarra somehow conjured up three in 13 minutes to stun NRL competition leaders South Sydney 22-18 in a golden point win which kept the Dragons' season alive.

Test winger Brett Morris scored his second try of the night three minutes into extra time - snapping a three game losing streak and sending a shiver through Rabbitohs fans fearing the worst without injured star Greg Inglis.

The win may have come at a cost though, with former Test centre Matt Cooper suffering a suspected torn pectoral muscle - an injury which may well have ended his season and possibly career.

Over the opening 59 minutes the Dragons did everything they could to lose the game - twice failing to find touch with a penalty - but when Morris scored just before the hour mark - their first try in 154 minutes of football, it breathed life into the red and whites.

That breath seemed to be extinguished when Sam Burgess steamrolled over Nathan Fien to make it 18-6 four minutes later, but when Trent Merrin and Adam Quinlan scored in the final ten minutes, a grandstand finish no-one expected was on.

Souths halfback Adam Reynolds missed with three shots at field goal, and having missed three of their own, the Dragons decided to test their arm.

NSW fullback Josh Dugan, the undisputed man of the match, ran the ball on the last, when pressured by the Rabbitohs.

Chipping over the top and securing the Dragons an extra set of six, halfback Nathan Fien got the ball on the next play, the man who has been feeling the brunt of criticism for his side's woes giving it to Morris to spark delirious celebrations.

"You could describe it as a bit of relief," coach Steve Price said.

"We have been under a bit of pressure of late and I'm just really proud of the players to hang tough in tough situations."

Asked about the prospect of a late run at the finals, Price said:

"It's all about being better than we have been. Producing performances like that and you never know what could happen."

Souths coach Michael Maguire denied the absence of Inglis was a factor in the loss, but it was clear the Bunnies were a shadow of the side which had dominated the season to date, their lead at the top of the table now back to two points.

"Not at all. The boys in the front line, they're making their tackles the way we're capable of (we might have won)," Maguire said of the Inglis factor.

"It's (Inglis being out) got nothing to do with it to be honest."




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