R 20 St George Illawarra Dragons vs Manly Sea Eagles at Win Stadium,Wollongong . Picture : Gregg Porteous

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a 52-22 loss to St George-Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium today in round 20 of the Telstra Premiership.

In front of a crowd of 16, 883, the Dragons dominated possession in the opening half to lead 30-0 at half-time before the Sea Eagles raced in four tries in 14 minutes to reduce the margin to eight.

However, the Dragons piled on the points late in the second half to take the two competition points to move to 24 points, two points behind Manly (26).

The loss saw Manly slip from third to sixth place on the ladder.

The Dragons opened the scoring in the ninth minute when a crossfield kick by half-back Josh McCrone saw the ball for into the arms of Jason Nightingale to score next to the posts. Gareth Widdop converted for a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes.

A crossfield kick from Widdop saw Uate miss the ball for centre Tim Lafai to score. Widdop converted for a 12-0 lead after 16 minutes.

Widdop scored his own try when he ran 90 metres to score after taking an intercept pass from Daly Cherry-Evans meant for Shaun Lane. Widdop converted his own try for an 18-0 lead after 28 minutes.

The home side took a 22-0 lead when winger Nene Macdonald tapped the ball back into the arms of centre Euan Aitken to score. Widdop converted for a 24-0 lead after 35 minutes.

Widdop then produced a short pass for Jacob Host to score next to the posts in the 38th minute. Widdop converted the try to give the Dragons a 30-0 lead at half-time.

Second Half

The opening 14 minutes of the second half was dominated by Manly with the Sea Eagles running in four tries.

The first came through Walker in the 43rd minute when he crashed over out wide.

Despite being left with 12 men after prop Darcy Lussick was sent to the sin bin for punching Jack de Belin, the Sea Eagles scored their second when hooker Joey Lussick scored from dummy half in his NRL debut. Cherry-Evans converted for a 30-12 scoreline after 50 minutes.

Lock Jake Trbojevic slammed the ball down for Manly’s third try. Jackson Hastings converted for a 30-18 scoreline after 50 minutes.

The Sea Eagles got back to 30-22 when Uate leapt high for the ball off a Cherry-Evans kick to hit the ground before placing the ball over the line to score. Hastings failed to convert for a 30-22 scoreline with 25 minutes to go.

However from there, the Dragons lifted a gear to race in four more tries through Paul Vaughan, Nightingale, Aitken, and Matt Dufty for the 52-22 scoreline.