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Flanno trumps Des as Sloan fires Dragons to statement win over Titans

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9th March, 2024
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Shane Flanagan has started his St George Illawarra coaching tenure at the helm of a gutsy and brilliant 28-4 win over Gold Coast, with fullback Tyrell Sloan scoring a hat-trick.

It was a win that had Flanagan’s fingerprints all over it in his first head-coaching gig since 2018 with Cronulla. The Dragons defended their tryline for most of the first half with grit and gusto and made the hosts pay after the break with scintillating attack at Cbus Super Stadium in front of 14,537 fans.

Flanagan has already managed to get the best out of several of the previous enigmas in his squad with Sloan, winger Zac Lomax and centre Mosese Suli all superb in career-best displays.

On the flip side, new Titans coach Des Hasler has plenty of work to do with a squad that was near perfect with the ball in the first half, before turning in an error-riddled fiasco in the second stanza.

Gold Coast suffered a blow before kick-off with veteran No.6 Kieran Foran a late withdrawal with a hamstring injury.

The Titans lacked polish at the end of their sets with halves Tom Weaver and Tanah Boyd unable to make the most of a mountain of possession in the first 40 minutes.

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The Dragons started on fire with Sloan scoring in the third minute after a crafty offload by new signing Raymond Faitala-Mariner. 

Weaver, Foran’s replacement, snuck a slick grubber kick in off-the-cuff for speed demon Alofiana Khan-Pereira to swoop in response.

Dragons five-eighth Kyle Flanagan, recruited from Canterbury, made the crucial play in the 47th minute with a classic show and go to slide under the sticks and give his side a 12-4 lead.

It was set up for Sloan at that point and he did not disappoint, chiming into the line with two more tries that showcased his speed and instinct.

Flanagan has found something special in Suli.

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The blockbusting centre was sensational with the ball but his defensive plays to snuff out bombs and Titans attacking raids was first class.

Lomax ran for 255m, scored a try and roamed around the field with intent and impact in a masterclass display.

Gold Coast received an inspirational display from captain and prop Tino Fa’asuamaleaui who played the opening 47 minutes where he ran for 187m and was a virtual one-man band.

When the skipper left the field the Dragons led 6-4. He came back on in the 68th minute but the game was gone.

© AAP

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