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Dugan stars in Dragons win over Knights

A brilliant individual performance from St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan has paved the way for an upset 14-8 NRL win over Newcastle at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
Dugan stars in Dragons win over Knights
by AAP

By James MacSmith

NEWCASTLE, NSW, June 8 AAP - A brilliant individual performance from St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan has paved the way for an upset 14-8 NRL win over Newcastle at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

With the NSW State of Origin No.1 jersey possibly up for grabs due to an injury to Jarryd Hayne, Dugan scored 12 points, including two tries, and was easily the best player on the field.

Dugan scored the match-winning try and was a constant menace to the Knights defence in his just his fourth game back after being sacked by Canberra for repeated discipline breaches.

The home side lead 4-0 at half-time but a lacklustre contest came alive in the second half.

Joey Leilua scored the first try of the game in the 48th minute when the Knights created numbers on their right hand side to gain a handy 8-0 lead.

That was before Dugan stamped his authority on the game. He leapt onto a Nathan Fien kick in the 56th minute to gap the lead to 8-6.

He landed a penalty goal in the 73rd minute to tie the scores up at 8-all, before scampering his way over from close range from a scrum in the 77th minute after James McManus had knocked on close to the line.

The first half was a close but dour tryless affair as both sides failed to take their chances.

Newcastle came closest when Dugan produced a goal line trysaver on a rampaging Willie Mason in the night minute.

Minus the sacked Jamie Soward the Dragons came closest when Dugan was originally awarded a four-pointer after three minutes before replays showed he was bundled into touch before he got the ball down.

In the 31st minute a Brett Morris try was disallowed after Nathan Green was correctly ruled offside in the lead-up.

The points in the first half came from two Tyrone Roberts penalty goals in the sixth and 40th minutes for a Knights halftime lead of 4-0.

Knights utility Beau Scott was placed on report for a first half crusher tackle on Dugan in his return from a groin injury against his former club. The win kept the Dragons incredible record in Newcastle alive. They have won 13 of 15 games at Hunter Stadium.


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