Superb try for debutant helps Dragons reclaim top spot

Ciaran Baynes

St George Illawarra snapped a two-game losing streak with a convincing 24-10 victory over North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday night, taking them back to the top of the NRL ladder.

Matt Dufty and Gareth Widdop starred as Paul McGregor's side sealed a win that lifts them above South Sydney on points difference.

Jason Nightingale, Dufty and debutant Jordan Pereira scored tries for the visitors while Gavin Cooper notched the Cowboys' only four-pointer.

The Dragons came out firing with Dufty breaking the line with a shimmy inside Johnathan Thurston before laying on a try for Nightingale after two minutes.

Two penalties from Thurston reduced the margin, the second after Jack de Belin was penalised for slowing the play the ball and was sent to the sin bin.

The Cowboys took full advantage with veteran forward Gavin Cooper scoring his third try in as many games.

Cooper collected the ball after a tackle on Kane Linnett two metres from the line and faked a pass right to wrong-foot Ben Hunt before he dived over on the left-hand side.

Pereira marked his first NRL match with a superb try for the Dragons. Pic: Fox Sports

The electric Dufty ensured the lead would not last with a try just after the half-hour mark.

Fed by Widdop, the fullback raced through a gap in the Cowboys' line before diagonally making a bee-line for the uprights.

Although Te Maire Martin took him to ground he could not hold on to the tackle and Dufty got up and dived over.

De Belin made amends for his early error by forcing a turnover late in the half and Hunt ghosted through the line before feeding Tariq Sims who scored.

Ten minutes into the second half, the game was effectively over as Widdop's perfect kick to the left wing was collected by Pereira who scored his first NRL try.

The committed Dragons' defence denied a way back into the game for last year's grand finalists who remain second last on the ladder.