2001: ROUND 13

vs St George Illawarra

Match Details
Match Date 20th May, 2001
Opponent St George Illawarra
Result Loss
Coach Steven Folkes
Captain Craig Polla-Mounter
Venue Sydney Showground Homebush
Crowd 15,173
Referee Paul Simpkins

Nathan Blacklock has moved to the top of the NRL tryscoring list with a hat trick of tries for the Dragons in their 26-14 victory against a very disappointing Bulldogs side at Sydney Showground today.

Blacklock's record is now 93 first grade games for 82 tries but remarkably enough has never played representative football and his dominant display today against the Bulldogs should not be ignored by the selectors.

Whilst Blacklock stole the show scoring three tries the star of the day was Dragons captain Lance Thompson who led from the front and troubled the Bulldogs defence each time he touched the football.

St George Illawarra made a great start to the match racing to a 14-0 lead with tries to Mark Gasnier from a Glen Hughes error to put the Dragons up 4-0 early on with Mark Riddell missing the conversion. Two tries in a matter of minutes through Amos Roberts who had too much speed for Shane Marteene when the Dragons spread the ball and than Blacklock bobbed up in the middle of the field finish off another Dragons break saw the Saints in complete control and dominance.

The Bulldogs started to make a comeback when Willie Talau found open to space to score after being put into the clear from a Steve Reardon pass. El Masri's conversion made the score 14-6 in favour of the Dragons.

Penalty goals to Wayne Bartrim and right on halftime to El Masri saw the scoreline at 16-8 in favour of the Dragons. The scoreline appeared close but it really shouldn't have been with the Dragons making breaks at will but only capitalising on three occasions.

The first points in the 2nd half was scored in the 63rd minute when Blacklock went over for his 2nd try when he scored a controversial try when referee Paul Simpkins got in the way of Luke Patten who was denied any chance of stopping Blacklock. The try was on the board and Riddell's conversion put the Dragons safely up at 22-8 heading into the final 15 minutes. Again the try came from Blacklock knowing where the ball is going to be and be in the right position.

Blacklock completed his hat trick in the 70th minute when Trent Barrett toed ahead with Marteene deflecting the ball straight to Blacklock who pounced on the ball to score.

The Bulldogs added a late try through Patten but it was all too late in a very disappointing effort in front of a strong home crowd. As a Bulldogs supporter I like to think it was one of those rare off days but it wasn't, there was glaring problems in the performance and the forwards minus captain Darren Britt had no answer to the Saints pack who were without their captain Craig Smith. The Bulldogs defence was non-existent, they can't challenge the premiership front-runners with Corey Hughes at halfback and the Bulldogs badly missed Britt and Darren Smith.

Best for the Bulldogs today were reserves Willie Talau and Steve Reardon while prop Steven Price tried hard all game. The Bulldogs should make the top eight but the best they can probably hope for is 5th position but 6th or maybe 7th most likely from what was on display today.

Full credit to St George who played very well and got their season back on track with an impressive victory after three successive losses and a draw last week.

The Dragons had a host of good performers with the standouts being Lance Thompson, Nathan Blacklock, Andrew Hart, Darren Treacy, Jason Ryles and Mark Gasnier.

Blacklock's performance deserves the final word. He was at his usual freakish best and his form this season has been sensational in all departments. His willingness in defence was very impressive and simply has to be in the New South Wales and even the Australian side to play New Zealand on July 13. If Blacklock isn't in the NSW team for the second Origin match than Anthony Mundine is definately correct about the selectors as there can be simply no more excuses for his constant omissions.

Source: www.rleague.com

Player Position Tries Goals F Goals Points
Luke Patten Fullback 1 0 0 4
Hazem El Masri Wing 0 3 0 6
Shane Marteene Wing 0 0 0 0
Nigel Vagana Centre 0 0 0 0
Steven Hughes Centre 0 0 0 0
Brent Sherwin Five Eighth 0 0 0 0
Corey Hughes Half Back 0 0 0 0
Braith Anasta Lock 0 0 0 0
Glen Hughes Second Row 0 0 0 0
Jamie Feeney Second Row 0 0 0 0
Steve Price Front Row 0 0 0 0
Paul Rauhihi Front Row 0 0 0 0
Craig Polla-Mounter Hooker 0 0 0 0
Willie Talau Replacement 1 0 0 4
Willie Mason Replacement 0 0 0 0
Steve Reardon Replacement 0 0 0 0
Barry Ward Replacement 0 0 0 0
Total: 2 3 0 14