Dragons lose in a thriller

Close call: The Dragons opened their account early after Tyrell Fuimaono pounced on a loose ball stripped from Euan Aitken over the try-line. Picture: John Veage
Close call: The Dragons opened their account early after Tyrell Fuimaono pounced on a loose ball stripped from Euan Aitken over the try-line. Picture: John Veage

In a match featuring spectacular tries, a controversial bunker call and heavy casualty tolls, Cronulla just hung on for a 28-24 Monty Porter Cup win in their home game against the Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

On a ground renowned as the home of St George and with the statues of former greats lining the entrance the Red V came from behind to almost topple the NRL top eight placed Sharks.

All the talk after the game was on the bunker's decision to award Sharks Jack Williams a controversial try that the NRL said was incorrect.

Williams was awarded the points by bunker officials Steve Clark and Ben Galea in the 10th minute despite Dragons fullback Matt Dufty grounding the ball in-goal.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor said the bunker's wrong decision to award the try was pretty clear.

"It was a stuff up-how do they keep getting it wrong, and who is accountable?

"In the end, it was the difference. It's not good enough."McGregor said.

Sharks coach John Morris said there was still 71 minutes left in the game and questioned whether Dufty had fumbled the ball in the lead up to a Dragons try.

"What goes around comes around in this game and at the end of a game like that, I don't think the Jack Williams try, if it was proven to be no try, was such a huge play "

After taking an early lead, the Dragons lost control of the game and were unable to regain it until midway through the second half.

The Dragons lost halfback Adam Clune and Trent Merrin at halftime after failed HIAs, but they still finished stronger and had all the momentum after tries to Lomax and Mikaele Ravalawa.

Next week Tariq Sims and Jordan Pereira are back from suspension.

McGregor said he thought the Sharks were more physical than them in the first half, but his team showed good effort across the game and showed some grit.

"We were in a winnable position with opportunities in the last minutes, but lack of possession for long periods of the game puts you under a fair bit of fatigue.

"We have to be better at the start," he said

Next week the Dragons have a horror run with a five-day turnaround facing the Rabbitohs at Kogarah before the Roosters and Eels.