St George Illawarra’s Ben Hunt and Corey Norman have starred in a gutsy 25-18 win over the North Queensland Cowboys.
In an error-ridden affair in Townsville, both sides totalled a whopping 24 errors on the night to gift each other prime attacking opportunities throughout the match.
The teams could barely be split across all other categories, but it was the return of Norman and a strong display by Hunt that guided the Dragons to a much needed first win.
Hlafback Hunt bagged two try assists, setting up Mikaele Ravalawa in the first half and providing a beautiful kick for Zac Lomax to crash over in the second.
The 15,120 strong crowd tried to lift their Cowboys to a spirited comeback, but the Dragons’ defensive line held strong to grind out the victory.
The introduction of Jake Granville sparked a revival of the home sides’ chances. He crossed in the 57th minutes, ten minutes after Valentine Holmes, but the continual coughing up of the football and poor choices on fifth tackle options cost them dearly.
The Dragons weathered an early storm, with the visitors looking the much more threatening side.
Coen Hess plucked the ball from a Jake Clifford kick to open the home side’s account, before the Dragons bounced back with tries to Ravalawa and Josh Kerr.
The Cowboys were lucky not to be further behind at the break, after a Norman pass to put Cody Ramsey over was ruled forward.
Norman almost slotted the first two-point field goal of the year right on halftime, but was deemed to be just inside the 40 metre line.