13 Sep 2010

Dragons beat Manly to reach preliminary NRL final

6:46 pm on 13 September 2010

St George Illawarra made no apologies for playing it safe in an ultimately comfortable 28-nil NRL rugby league qualifying final win over Manly, which earned the Dragons a week off and knocked the Sea Eagles out of the playoffs.

Despite dominating throughout, the Dragons scored just one try in the opening 65 minutes of the match and ground out a 14-nil lead by choosing to take four consecutive penalty goals instead of going for the bigger prize.

Two quick-fire tries to Matt Cooper and an 80-metre effort from Mark Gasnier towards the end put some excitement into an otherwise unglamorous and tradesman-like performance from the Dragons, who will now play the winner of Canberra and Wests Tigers for a place in the grand final.

St George Illawarra's cautious approach against a battered Sea Eagles outfit did little to dispel criticism that they go into their shell in big games, but for Wayne Bennett, getting to the preliminary final was all that mattered.