NRL Round 11 – Match 3 Results: St George Illawarra Dragons 14 v 22 Canberra Raiders

On Sunday afternoon at WIN Stadium the Canberra Raiders took full advantage of a St George Illawarra outfit weakened by rep footy and injury to sleigh the Dragons and score a tidy win ahead of the competition leaders.

St George Illawarra were missing six of their big name players including Brett Morris, Matt Cooper and Michael Weyman in training for State of Origin, and suffered another big blow when No. 8 Dan Hunt was badly injured in the warm up, being ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

Still number one on the NRL ladder, the Dragons have now lost three matches this year, two that can be partially blamed on rep footy and the damaging effect it has on such a representative rich team.

With four wins to their name for 2010 now, three of which were won away from home, Canberra sit at number 11 on the ladder and in Sunday’s match the green machine finally started to show some really solid form that matches the size of their imposing squad.

The Raiders were first to score when Glen Buttriss got over in the 21st minute and Terry Campese’s conversion saw the visitors lead by six after the first quarter.

It was over 15 minutes later before the Dragons were able to score when Jason Nightingale opened the home team’s account two minutes from half time. With the sun in his eyes, Jamie Soward missed the conversion and the Raiders still lead by two minutes going into the break.

In the second half it was St George Illawarra who scored first when Kyle Stanley put down a four- pointer just two minutes in. Again the conditions saw Soward go wide with the kick, but the try had put the Dragons in front 8 – 6.

But in a sensational comeback for the Raiders that left the Dragons’ heads spinning, Canberra came up with a startling three tries in six minutes to secure victory.

First Joel Thompson got over in the 51st minute, followed by Jarrod Croker three minutes later, and then talented young fullback Josh Dugan finished off their assault in the 57th minute. Campese kicked two from three and the Raiders were sitting pretty with 22 points.

Before the game’s end, Trent Merrin scored a consolatory try for the Dragons in the 64th minute, but Soward failed to convert and it wasn’t enough so St George Illawarra lost by eight.

The Dragons will have a chance to atone for their Round 11 loss this Friday night when they face the Eels. Visit Ladbrokes.com.au to back the mighty Dragons or to bet on any of the other great NRL games scheduled for Round 12.