Dragons smash Raiders, and 14-year hoodoo

DAVID BARBELER
Last updated 19:34 16/08/2014
TRY TIME: Josh Dugan dives over to score for the St George Dragons in their comfortable win over the Canberra Raiders.
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TRY TIME: Josh Dugan dives over to score for the St George Dragons in their comfortable win over the Canberra Raiders.

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A hat-trick to St George Illawarra stand-in captain Josh Morris helped smash a 14-season hoodoo in the nation's capital with a 34-16 NRL victory over Canberra tonight.

Ex-Raiders bad boy Josh Dugan also haunted his former club in  the win, picking up a try and 117 metres in his first game back at  Canberra Stadium since being shown the door for a string of  off-field indiscretions last year.

It was the Dragons' first win at Canberra Stadium in 14 seasons,  and just their third against the Green Machine in their past 20 outings.

More importantly it also keeps the Dragons' finals hopes alive,  snapping a two-game losing streak to leave themselves just one win  outside the top eight.

Despite the blown out scoreline, the visitors had to do it  tough, and were dealt a big blow before kick-off when captain Ben  Creagh was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

And the Raiders weren't short of spark, with fullback Jordan  Rapana impressing in his first home game with 147 metres and a try.

The Raiders also started strongly, opening the scoring after  just two minutes when Josh Papalii barnstormed his way over from a  set play.

But the Dragons hit back immediately through winger Morris, who  burrowed his way over from dummy-half in the corner to trail 6-4, before crossing again from an overlap midway through the first half.

The Raiders earned a 12-10 lead into the break when livewire five-eighth Anthony Milford found open space and put Rapana over  for his first try for the Raiders.

They then extended that lead after the break when Raiders centre  Jarrod Croker picked up his 17th try of the season.

But the Dragons weren't done, and it was an ex-Raiders player  who showed them the way.

After receiving a frosty reception, Dugan powered his over in  the 50th minute to narrow the gap to two points.

Dragons centre Peter Mata'utia then crossed to steal a two-point  lead, before Jason Nightingale jagged a pinpoint cross-field kick  from Benji Marshall to go up 24-16 with 17 minutes to go.

Morris then picked up his third, and Nightingale his second,  with the duo scoring spectacular acrobatic tries in the corner  within minutes of each other to put the icing on the cake.

Meanwhile, Raiders interchange Mitch Cornish was put on report  for a crusher tackle on Morris in the second half.

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