Dragons hold off Cronulla comeback

20 March 2017 10:01:29 EST

Defending champions Cronulla fell short with their second-half rally as the Dragons chalked up a 16-10 win at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

The Sharks scored two tries in the space of seven minutes, but the defeat in front of their own fans means they've lost their first two home games of the campaign.

They had a number of close calls, particularly with the last play of the first half when Edrick Lee's final pass to Chad Townsend was called forward.

St George Illawarra almost scored the opening try on seven minutes when Paul Vaughan ignored the unmarked Tyson Frizell on the inside and the chance went begging.

After ‌Sharks centre Ricky Leutele went close to pulling off a miracle try the visitors drew first blood with Gareth Widdop's penalty goal.

Things continued to go the Dragons' way as Cronulla had Wade Graham forced off for a concussion test, and then after Townsend's kick went out on the full, Euan Aitken raced through to ground a Cameron McInnes grubber to make it 6-0.

Widdop knocked over another two points and then an errant offload was scooped up by Aitken who raced 60 metres to give his side a 14-point half-time lead.

The Sharks were denied early in the second stanza when Leutele lost the ball agonisingly short of the line.

But 10 minutes into the half Luke Lewis capitalised on a Widdop error to ground a loose ball.

Though they then lost back-rower Graham for the second time for an HIA test, Lee gathered a deflected pass to score his first try for the club.

After a terrific try-saving tackle by Joel Thompson denied Kurt Capewell an equalising try the Dragons marched downfield and added another goal after Andrew Fifita was penalised for an indiscretion while in possession.

Cronulla are 6/1 to win the grand final.

The Dragons are 15/2 to finish in the top four.

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