After 151 matches in charge of the Red V, the Dragons have sent coach Paul McGregor out a deserved winner to finish his tenure at the club with a hard fought 14-12 upset win over Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium tonight.
It was the first win at the venue for the visitors, who held off a late rally from the Eels to give McGregor easily his best win of 2020. Rookie halfback Adam Clune was superb for the Dragons, directing his side around the park, producing some neat passing in attack and giving his side excellent field position with his pinpoint kicking. He was well supported by hard running wingers Jordan Periera who ran for over 200m and Mikaele Ravalawa who crossed for two tries.
Parramatta coach Brad Artur will be very disappointed with the loss, however his side just couldn't seem to get themselves in a winning position despite leading the match with less than 20 minutes to go.
Both sides had plenty to play for coming into the match. Following the Roosters loss last night, it was a golden chance for Parramatta to consolidate their position in the Top 4. St George on the other hand were desperate to send their departing coach Paul McGregor out a winner after 7 seasons at the Red V.
Parramatta notoriously love playing at Bankwest Stadium and they got into their groove early, when Mitchell Moses put Waqa Blake away with a neat inside ball. Blake then found his captain and crowd favourite Clint Gutherson backing up on the spot to open the scoring for the home side. Moses converted and it was 6-0 after just 12 minutes.
The Dragons however responded in style when Corey Norman put up a huge bomb up on the last and young gun Zac Lomax outleapt Gutherson in contesting the ball and with his back turned then offloaded. The ball then bounced towards his winger Mikaele Ravalawa who picked up the pill to score a great try in the corner. Lomax missed with the conversion but it gave the side an enormous boost.
St George then took the lead just before the break when blockbusting winger Ravalawa received the ball out wide following a long pass from Corey Norman. Ravalawa then made a direct run for the corner and managed to get the ball down mid-air to score a superb second try. Lomax nailed the conversion from the sideline to give the Dragons a stunning 10-6 lead at halftime.
Parramatta needed a good start and off a perfect opening set, Reed Mahoney put a superb kick on the last in wet conditions to have Dragons winger Jordan Periera trapped in goal. Off the ensuing dropout, Warriors bound prop Kane Evans trundled towards the line and carrying both Dragons front rowers with him he barged his way over to score. Moses converted and the Eels were back in front 12-10.
The Dragons then tied up the scores with less than 20 minutes remaining when Zac Lomax added a penalty goal following a high shot from Eels prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
Dragons interchange player Kaide Ellis then looked to have picked a superb time to score his first NRL try, when the former Panther collected a Ben Hunt kick which ricocheted off Eels hooker Reed Mahoney. Replays showed that Ellis had slightly knocked on in the process of scoring, however with Mahoney being ruled offside St George were awarded the penalty. Lomax then put his side in front in what proved to be the difference to give the Dragons a well-deserved victory.
St George now hand over the reigns to interim coach Dean Young following tonight's win and face the Broncos next Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Parramatta now need to re-focus as they now return to Bankwest Stadium in Round 15 where they host the in-form Melbourne Storm.