St George Illawarra Dragons celebrate James Graham 400-game milestone with 40-28 win over Gold Coast Titans

They made hard work of it but St George Illawarra eventually celebrated James Graham's 400th first grade game with a 40-28 victory over Gold Coast at Kogarah on Saturday.

The Dragons were the better side on a cold, blustery afternoon at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium but were unable to kill off the resilient Titans until the final stages.

Graham notched his 400th first grade game across Super League and the NRL in the 12-point win, though the victory was not enough to revive any finals hopes with the Dragons still five points outside the top eight in 14th place on the table.

The loss though likely condemned the Titans to the wooden spoon.

St George Illawarra took the lead just five minutes in. Paul Vaughan did brilliant to chase through a Corey Norman grubber kick. The prop then showed good restraint to allow the ball to bounce suitably before grounding under the posts.

Gold Coast leveled the score with a shift to the left 10 minutes later. Sam Stone flicked a pass back for Ryley Jacks who batted the ball on quickly before Brian Kelly touched down.

Two tries in four minutes just after the midway point of the half pushed the Dragons out to an 18-6 lead.

Firstly, a shift left saw Gareth Widdop put Tariq Sims through a hole close to the line. Then, Widdop did brilliantly to fire a kick back towards the centre, with Tyson Frizell showing great determination to race through and touch down.

But the Dragons allowed the Titans back into the contest with a try just before half-time.

An AJ Brimson break 20 metres out from Gold Coast's line allowed Kelly to storm down field.

A shift to the right then saw Tyrone Peachey put Kevin Proctor over to make it 18-12 at the break.

St George Illawarra though reestablished their 12-point lead five minutes into the second half.

Luciano Leilua made an outstanding impact off the bench and broke through the Gold Coast line before unselfishly finding Ben Hunt to score.

Again the Dragons invited the visitors back into the contest. A Norman error gifted Gold Coast field position before Phillip Sami finished off a miraculous Titans move.

St George Illawarra continued to try and keep Gold Coast at arms length, this time when Cameron McInnes laid on the simplest of tries for Sims as the back-rower crossed for the fifth double of his career.

Euan Aiken then celebrated his 100th NRL game when Hunt put him through a gap close to the line, with the Dragons out to a 36-16 lead.

Just when the Dragons looked home they again switched off as the Gold Coast scored two tries in as many minutes through Sami and Jacks.

But St George Illawarra finally killed off the Titans when teenage winger Jason Saab touched down with four minutes to play.

Leader Scoreboard

St George Illawarra Dragons 40 (Tariq Sims two, Paul Vaughan, Tyson Frizell, Ben Hunt, Euan Aitken, Jason Saab tries. Gareth Widdop six goals)

defeated

Gold Coast Titans 28 (Phillip Sami two, Brian Kelly, Kevin Proctor, Ryley Jacks tries. Tyrone Peachey four goals)

at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah

Crowd: 6,532

Leader man of the match: Gareth Widdop (Dragons)

Dragons' next three: Sharks (away), Roosters (home - Kogarah), Tigers (home - SCG)

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