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St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin may have found the answer to his fullback dilemma after an electric display from Cody Ramsey helped the Dragons to a 24-18 win over the Warriors.
In front of 7147 fans at a rain-soaked Jubilee Oval, Ramsey returned from a hamstring injury sustained in round three and took to the No.1 jumper with ease, scoring a try and setting up another.
Griffin has toyed with Tyrell Sloan and Moses Mbye in that role earlier this year, but Ramsey looked every part an NRL fullback in a Dragons side who moved up to 10th on the ladder with victory on Saturday.
The loss extends a month of woe for the Warriors, who have just one win in their last five under coach Nathan Brown.
The home side began in the best possible fashion when Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson dropped the first kick-off of the afternoon, allowing Zac Lomax to touch down for the Red V on the very next set.
But from thereon it was the Warriors who had the upper hand. Johnson scored one of his own and sent up two aerial kicks for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to bat back in field for Viliami Vailea to touch down.
Ramsey was the only response the Dragons could offer as he burst into the line and slipped through some feeble Warriors defence to get his first try of the season.
St George Illawarra trailed 14-12 at the break and the Warriors looked set to pull away when Watene-Zelezniak crossed for his first of the afternoon.
Fullback Reece Walsh’s inaccuracy with the boot – he kicked one from four – proved to be the Warriors’ undoing. They also lost star prop Addin Fonua-Blake to injury.
It meant that when NRL debutant Michael Molo barged over the line from close range, the Dragons were level after Lomax converted.
Ramsey had looked threatening whenever he brought the ball back from the backfield and a shift play to the Dragons’ right edge allowed him to burst upfield in the play which broke the game open.
Off the back of Ramsey’s break, Lomax found his way over the line. He missed his conversion but added a penalty to make it 24-18 with 10 minutes to go.
Despite a late scare from the Warriors in the final 30 seconds, Griffin’s side held on for their fifth victory of the season.