Dufty dominates on Dragons debut, Eels sneak past Tigers


A devastating first-half performance and a debut try for Matt Dufty saw St George Illawarra Dragons thrash Manly Sea Eagles 52-22 in NRL on Sunday, while Parramatta Eels edged Wests Tigers in a thriller.

Manly were held scoreless in the opening period as St George went in at the break 30-0 ahead thanks to tries from Jason Nightingale, Timoteo Lafai, Gareth Widdop, Euan Aitken and Jacob Host.

Widdop set up two scores for team-mates, converted all five tries and produced the pick of the bunch, intercepting a pass from an out-of-sorts Daly Cherry-Evans to run almost the length of the field and touch down at WIN Stadium.

The Sea Eagles took flight after the break, Dylan Walker, Darcy Lussick, Tom Trbojevic and Akuila Uate hitting back to close the margin to 30-22.

But Dufty, who was replacing the injured Josh Dugan at full-back, then came to the fore in his first senior appearance, helping to create settling tries for Paul Vaughan and Nightingale, before Aitken crossed again.

Impressive newcomer Dufty deservedly had the last word, completing the scoring in the 79th minute as St George in eighth spot closed to within two points of sixth-placed Manly. 

In the second match of the day, Corey Norman's 77th-minute drop goal was enough for Parramatta to snatch a dramatic 17-16 victory away to the Tigers.

The visitors led through first-half tries from Bevan French and Semi Radradra, James Tedesco crossing to keep the home side in touching distance.

The Tigers won the second half thanks to a pair of Tuimoala Lolohea penalties and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak's 70th-minute try, either side of the Eels' Clinton Gutherson, set up by Radradra's explosive break, touching down and converting his own try.

Crucially, though, Lolohea failed to convert Watene-Zelezniak's score, leaving Norman free to secure the points with his quick-thinking heroics. 

The Eels are seventh, level on points with Manly, while Tigers are down in 15th.