The mighty St George Illawarra Dragons have won their first Premiership as a joint-venture club ending a 31 year drought to claim a sensational victory in the 2010 NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, thrashing the Sydney Roosters 32 – 6.
Coach to the Red V’s, Wayne Bennett, is now being officially hailed as the best Rugby League coach of all time after he maintained his perfect Grand Final record on Sunday winning his seventh Premiership.
Wayne Bennett maintained his perfect Grand Final record with his 7th NRL Premiership win
Bennett previously enjoyed six Grand Final wins with the Brisbane Broncos and has now won another with a new team, beating rival coach Brian Smith for the third time.
Finally crushing any critics that had labelled the Dragons as ‘chockers’, St George methodically and patiently demolished their rivals to be named the Premiership winners of the 2010 NRL season.
It was a disappointing end to the fairy tale year for the Tricolours, the Roosters rising from Wooden Spooners 12 months ago to play in the Grand Final decider.
After a gritty first half that saw the Chooks leading 8 – 6 at halftime, the Dragons came back in the second half full of determination and were just too good for the Roosters opening up the score and flying to victory with a rush of points.
Punters that jumped on the juicy odds for Mark Gasnier to score the first try in the Grand Final at Ladbrokes.com.au got a nice payout seven minutes in on Sunday
There was some early controversy when Dragons’ winger Brett Morris looked to throw a pass after going out of the field of play, but the refs called for things to continue after touch judge Jeff Younis missed the moment.
In a bitter early blow for the Roosters, off the very next play the scoring got underway when Mark Gasnier got over in the seventh minute following an accurate cross-field kick from Soward.
A successful conversion from Jamie Soward, who was brilliant on the boot kicking six from seven attempts, saw the Dragons six up.
The Roosters answered back with their first try of the night in the 16th minute via skipper Braith Anasta who ran in to pounce on a loose ball after young winger Joseph Leilua lost the ball trying to score after collecting a Carney high kick when Jamie Lyon lodged it out with his knee.
Todd Carney, however, missed the conversion and the Roosters were still down by two.
The Roosters were ahead at halftime so punters that picked the Roosters/Dragons combo in the Halftime/Fulltime markets at Ladbrokes.com.au cleaned up!
Just four minutes later, the Chooks were over again when Mitchell Aubusson crossed for a 20th minute four-pointer putting them two up on the back of another red and white error.
Having found momentum, the Roosters nearly made it a first half hat-trick when, but they were denied by the video ref and forced to take a narrow two point lead to the sheds.
With Sydney looking right in the game and ready to cause an upset to complete their transformation from the NRL basement to the Premiership penthouse, things quickly turned when the teams returned to the field for the second half and the red and whites were able to run in four more unanswered tries.
Six minutes back from the break Jason Nightingale scored the Dragons second try of the night, sent over by their brilliant fullback Darius Boyd, and with Soward successful with the conversion, St George found themselves in front 12 – 8.
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In the 60th minute Nightingale made it a Grand Final double before Dean Young flew over three minutes later to seal victory for St George, emulating the feats of his father Craig who captained the Dragons in their last Premiership winning match back in 79.
Soward continued his sensational conversion rate with another two kicks to push St George to an unstoppable 24 – 8 lead.
Just four minutes later the Roosters worsened their woes giving away a penalty kicked by Soward, before Nathan Fien iced the cake with the Saints fifth and final try in the 70th minute pushing them to an emphatic 32 – 8 victory.
For punters that were in on the Clive Churchill markets, it was Darius Boyd who was rated the most influential player on the night.
With the 2010 NRL Telstra Premiership done and dusted, footy fans still have plenty to look forward to and enjoy a bet on over the off-season.
Next up is the 2010 Four Nations starting on October 23 and already Sportsbet have markets open on this classic clash.
Australia are the hot $1.20 favourites to win and if you want to get behind your country sign up with Ladbrokes.com.au today!