Dragons thump Titans 42-16

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    The St George Illawarra Dragons have kept their top eight hopes alive with a 42-16 thumping of the Gold Coast Titans at home at UOW Jubilee Oval.

    The game was all but over at half-time after the Dragons played error-free football and capitalised on a glut of possession to head into the sheds leading 22-0.

    They looked sharp in attack, scoring four first half tries in what was a must-win match for them, while the Titans looked disorganised.

    The first St George try came in the ninth minute when centre Josh Dugan broke the line with a big right foot step before offloading to replacement halfback Kurt Mann to score. Mann was a late inclusion to the Dragons’ starting 13 in place of Josh McCrone.

    In the 21st minute, young fullback Matt Dufty threw a great cut-out ball to put winger Jason Nightingale over untouched.

    In the 34th minute, Mann and Widdop combined to find charging backrower Joel Thompson, who barged his way over to score for the Dragons’ third try.

    Three minutes before half-time, a neat flick pass from centre Tim Lafai put Nightingale over for his second try of the afternoon.

    The Dragons skipped out to 28-0 in the 48th minute when they threw the ball around before Joel Thompson and straightened the attack and threw a speculative pass for hooker Cameron McInnes to score.

    The Titans then came to life, scoring two tries in five minutes. The first came in the 51st minute, when a set play put winger Anthony Don in the clear down the sideline, before he turned the ball inside for centre Dale Copley to score.

    Don scored himself just a few minutes later, leaping spectacularly to take an Ash Taylor cross-field kick and ground the ball out wide.

    At 28-10, there was a faint hint of a comeback, but in the 62nd minute Cameron McInnes put the result beyond doubt for St George when he burrowed his way over from from dummy half for his second try.

    Titans interchange backrower Paterika Vaivai scored his first NRL try soon after \forcing his way over from close range.

    But Dragons’ halfback Kurt Mann capped a strong game when he scored his team’s final try four minutes from full-time, after throwing a dummy and putting on a big right foot step to score under the posts.

    The win was crucial for the Dragons and it will provide a healthy boost for their for and against. In the last three rounds, they have the Broncos, Penrith and Canterbury.

    To make the top eight, they have to keep winning and hope Penrith stumble.