The Premiership favourite Dragons secured back-to-back Minor Premierships for certain on Saturday night when they travelled to Energy Australia Stadium and held on for an eight point victory over a gallant Knights in front of a sell-out crowd of over 23,100 fans.
Even if they lose to the Rabbitohs in Round 26, the Dragons are so far in front with points differential that it will be impossible for Bennett’s boys not to finish as the ladder leaders this season.
Punters that bet on the Dragons to win the Minor Premiership at Ladbrokes.com.au have been rewarded
The loss has seen the faint finals hope of Newcastle put to bed, the Knights now down in 11th spot on the ladder with just one game left to play for 2010.
On Saturday night St George set themselves up with an impressive early lead, Newcastle not able to come back from the deficit despite a courageous late burst.
The Dragons started the point scoring just five minutes in when Brett Morris got over giving them a four point head-start.
The visitors were next to score again when Dean Young touched down in the 17th minute, Jamie Soward successfully converting this one to extend their lead to 10 points.
Over the next 20 minutes just one more try was scored, and again it was by St George as the Knights remained scoreless throughout the entire first half.
In the 22nd minute Kiwi rep Jason Nightingale got over for another converted try and the now-confident Dragons took a nice 16 – nil lead to the sheds.
Back in the second half St George got off to a flying start again when Ben Creagh scored the try of the night four minutes in, Soward’s kick pushing them in front by 22 points.
Creagh made a barnstorming run to the line pushing through at least five Newcastle defenders before extending his arm over the line for a one-handed touch down right under the sticks.
But over the following seven minutes, the Knights found some startling momentum and scored three tries clawing their way back into the game to give their fans a grand-stand finish
Adam MacDougall finally got them on the board in the 48th minute scoring his 82nd try for Newcastle to surpass Timana Tahu’s previous club record, followed by a fast double by departing Cooper Vuna who scored in the 51st and 55th minutes.
Skipper Kurt Gidley booted three from three and it was now a four point game, the Dragons just ahead 22 – 18.
In a tense final 15 minutes the two fought to score the winning try.
Then, with just three minutes left on the clock, five-eighth Jamie Soward secured the win for St George getting the final four-pointer of the game after a 60 metre break by Darius Boyd that also set the Dragon’s 2010 Minor Premiership in concrete.
Want better odds than those on offer at your local TAB on Round 26 of the NRL? Jump online and take five minutes to sign up with Ladbrokes.com.au for the biggest payouts on every sport every match!