St George Illawara Dragons started the NRL season with a convincing 34-12 victory at home to the Brisbane Broncos.
The Broncos drew first blood after eight minutes as Jordan Kahu put a penalty between the sticks as the Dragons were punished for hanging on for too long at the play the ball.
Gareth Widdop levelled the scores just two minutes later as the Bronocs were caught offside. He then made it 4-2 to the Dragons as Brisbane were caught offside again.
The Dragons got the first try of the game after half an hour as Tyson Frizell got on the end of a kick in goal to score. Widdop added the conversion to extend the Dragons lead out to eight points going into half time.
Brisbane needed to score first in the second half and they did as a brilliant team move saw James Roberts go in by the touchline. Kahu put the conversion wide meaning the deficit was still four points for the Broncos.
However, their reprieve was short lived as Ben Hunt marked his debut for his new club with a try against his old one as he caught a Brisbane pass on halfway and was able to go all the way. Widdop scored the conversion to bring up a 10 point Dragons lead.
The Broncos indiscipline was costing them as they were caught offside again and Widdop punished them again by pushing the Dragons’ lead out to 12 points.
The result was then put beyond doubt halfway through the second half as Euan Aitkin showed his class from short range as he beat off two defenders to score out wide. Widdop kept up his impressive record with the boot to add another conversion and stretch the Dragons lead to 18 points.
Five minutes later, Roberts managed to get his second and pull another try back for the Broncos as he exploited a gap to get inside and score. Kahu scored the conversion to reduce the deficit to 12 points.
Then eight minutes from time, any slim hopes the Broncos had of rescuing the situation were extinguished as Jack De Belin managed to force his way over from close range. Widdop added the conversion again to reinstate the 18 point lead for the Dragons.
There could well be further repercussions for Brisbane as Jaydn Su’a was put on report for a shoulder charge on Paul Vaughan late on.
There was even time for the Dragons to extend the lead with a spectacular finish on the touchline from Jason Nightingale. Widdop missed for the first time in the game but the Dragons ended with a 22 point lead.
That was the way the game finished, meaning it was a great start to the season for the Red Vee. They take on 2016 NRL Champions Cronulla Sharks away from home looking to build on this start.
As for the Broncos, it is back to the drawing board for them after a disappointing opening. They host the North Queensland Cowboys in a repeat of the 2015 NRL Grand Final.