Scary moment Nightingale lands on head scoring try

Jason Nightingale almost took the gloss off the Dragons' win over the Broncos when he landed straight on his head while putting the ball down for an extraordinary try.

Nightingale scored the final try on Thursday night as St George Illawarra opened the 2018 season with a 34-12 thumping of Brisbane.

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Gareth Widdop found Nightingale with a beautiful cut-out pass before the Dragons winger jumped into the air to plant the ball down in the corner.

However some late contact from Jordan Kahu sent Nightingale slightly askew, resulting in the veteran winger landing directly on top of his head with his feet vertical in the air.

That could have been nasty. Image: Getty

Nightingale stayed down for a few moments holding his head, but somehow managed to avoid any injury.

"Neck exercises have certainly helped through the off-season," Nightingale said of his lucky escape after the game.

Nightingale avoided injury. Image: Getty

Ben Hunt breathed hope back into long-suffering St George Illawarra fans and rammed home Matt Lodge's tough NRL return with one foul swoop as he set up the impressive win.

Two of the NRL's biggest pre-season stories collided on Thursday night when $6 million man Hunt intercepted a Lodge pass in the 50th minute to score his first try in Dragons' colours, ending any likely hope of a Brisbane comeback and taking his team to a 16-6 lead.

Rugby league's script writers sure can pen some kind of tale, as the intercept summed up the fortunes of both players in a dramatic opening to the season at Jubilee Oval.

Having not won a finals match since now-Broncos coach Wayne Bennett guided them to the title in 2010, Hunt's impact on the Dragons was immediate.

He set up the Dragons' first try when he grubbered out of dummy-half for the chasing Tyson Frizell, while his long kicking game was equally impressive in the first half.

The Dragons' all-important spine was also much better for his arrival.

Gareth Widdop looked dangerous running the ball in attack, freed up from the burden of having to organise the team alongside makeshift halfbacks since his arrival from Melbourne in 2014.

He struck up a nice combination with young fullback Matt Dufty, who was as quick as ever through the midfield and on kick returns.

Hooker Cameron McInees even looked as if he'd improved on his career-best 2017. He ran freely from dummy-half in the first half to finish with 48 metres from his five up-tempo carries.

Jack de Belin, Nightingale and Euan Aitken each also finished with tries for the Dragons in their 50th win at Kogarah as a merged club.

with AAP