Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles suffered a 44-18 loss to the St George-Illawarra Dragons at HE Laybutt Field, Blacktown, today in round three of the NSW Cup.
With last week’s match against Souths postponed due to wet weather, the Sea Eagles were keen to build on their big season opening win over the North Sydney Bears at home.
Unfortunately for the Sea Eagles, who were ahead on the scoreboard for the first 40 minutes, the Dragons produced some fine attack in the second half to take the points in a disappointing afternoon for Blacktown.
Sea Eagles second-rower Ben Trbojevic drew in the defence to send winger Bilal Maarbani over for the first try in the seventh minute. Five-eighth Brad Keighran converted the try for a 6-0 scoreline.
The Dragons replied three minutes later after centre Max Feagai received the ball on the right side of the field, before dummying and dragging two defender across the line with him. Full-back Siti Moceidreke converted for a 6-all scoreline.
Dragons’ winger Matthew Feagai was taken off the field in the 16th minute with a left leg injury after a strong Blacktown kick chase led to a tangle up in a tackle.
Blacktown Workers hit back two minutes later after hooker Denzal Tonise used his strength to burrow underneath the defence to score. Keighran converted to take a 12-6 lead.
Blacktown centre Morgan Harper, a late addition to the side, stepped off his right foot to get inside the Dragons defence as he dived over in the 25th minute to score.
It came after lock Sione Fainu made a massive break earlier on in the set and had a quick play the ball, allowing for the ball to be shifted quickly to the right edge. Keighran converted from the sideline to extend the lead to 18-6.
The Dragons got back into the game with10 minutes remaining before half-time after halfback Adam Clune threw a cut-out pass to winger Shaun Sauni-Esau, who went over in the corner. Moceidreke converted to make the score 18-12.
Blacktown Workers appeared set for a six-point lead at the break, only for the Dragons to score on the brink of halft- ime thanks to a diving effort by winger Jordan Pereira. Moceidreke missed the conversion for an 18-16 scoreline at the break.
The Dragons scored in the opening set of the second half and grabbed the lead for the first time in the match after making a break down the sideline. With support on either side, back- rower Charly Runciman got the ball and crashed over to score. Moceidreke missed the conversion for a 20-18 lead to the Dragons.
The visitors continued to take their chances, running down the same edge five minutes later as Runciman held up play before finding Pereira who grabbed his second try for the day. Moceidreke converted to extend their lead to 26-18.
The Workers dug deep and hit hard to force an error 10 metres out from their own line in the 55th minute, in what was looking to be another try-scoring opportunity. They raced downfield and gained another set in their opposition’s territory, but came up short as the ball was dropped just short of the tryline.
The Dragons were running rampant down the left edge, as Runciman and Pereira linked up again in the 62nd minute to find their team in good field position, before halfback Zeik Foster got the ball to score under the posts. Moceidreke converted for a 32-18 lead.
Pereira grabbed his hat-trick with 15 minutes to play, again linking up with Runciman to seemingly close out the game. Moceidreke converted from the sideline for a 38-18 lead.
Blacktown had chances to grab a consolation try and went close in the final five minutes of play, with Allan knocking the ball on in his attempt to ground a Keighran grubber kick.
In the next set after a massive break downfield, the Dragons scored their eighth try of the match, with forward Jackson Ford running hard at the line to find a hole, running around to score under the posts. Moceidreke converted for the 44-18 scoreline.
Blacktown Workers now host the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland on Saturday, April 3, at 2pm .