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St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers, match recap, highlights, Zac Lomax try, big hits, Tyrell Sloan, Mikaele Ravalawa, news

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The Dragons have scraped victory over the Tigers, beating the merger club 18-14 to edge away from winning the wooden spoon.

These two foes sat 16th and 17th respectively coming in to this clash, but now Ryan Carr’s side have secured a two-win buffer over Tim Sheens’ outfit.

Before the game had even begun, the Tigers were up against it with Shawn Blore a late exclusion due to a warm-up quad injury.

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Dragons Press Conference | 06:32

But that didn’t stop them from scoring the first try of the night, after Daine Laurie’s pass went to ground with Junior Tupou able to scoop the ball up and score.

The Dragons then scored their first try of the night, courtesy of a smart flick pass from young gun Junior Amone to find Tyrell Sloan.

“They are good young players these two… watch this for a play, he is lightning once he gets the ball,” Steve Roach said.

And in a flash, they scored a second after Ben Hunt found centre Zac Lomax with a smart chip.

“Terrific tough from Ben Hunt… that’s right on a dime,” Matt Russell said.

Fullback Sloan was later sin binned in the 32nd minute after a bizarre brain fade, handing the Tigers a chance to pounce – and they did.

Tupou scored a second before Apisai Koroisau got his name on the scoresheet to hold a 14-12 lead at the break.

But from then on in, it was one way traffic and the Dragons scored the only points of the second period with an impressive try from Mikaele Ravalawa.

Lomax sparked the four-pointer, breaking through multiple tackles before flicking the ball behind defenders to his winger to barge over.

“The way he got his arm free with that pass around Daine Laurie was a pearlier,” Steve Roach said.

Read below for all the big talking points out of Thursday’s game!

Sloan brain melt gifts Tigers try! | 00:45

RAVALAWA’S DEFENCE EXPOSED

Interim Dragons coach Ryan Carr will undoubtedly be having a tough conversation with right winger Mikaele Ravalawa at training after his side’s victory over the Tigers.

The 25-year-old has proven he is a try-scoring machine and a bulldozing runner, but one big aspect of his game was exposed on Thursday night – his defence.

In the first half, all three of the Tigers tries came down their left edge and both Mick Ennis and Corey Parker were stunned to see Ravalawa consistently charge out of the line.

“Some of the defensive decisions by the Dragons down the right-hand side has been completely unacceptable,” Ennis said.

“Coach Ryan Carr will be livid given the amount of grass they have had behind them at times.

“Their lack of patience and connection has been abysmal. There is no way the Tigers should be in front.

“Yeah this right hand-side for the Dragons has been awful,” Parker added.

“Some of the decision making from Ravalawa has been pretty poor to say the least.

“Off the back of that the Tigers have come down that way and Tupou came up with two tries.”They brought it all undone themselves the Dragons.”

Ravalawa finished the night with a four-pointer which proved crucial, but his defence will still be a focal point for Carr during the week.

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Wests Tigers Press Conference | 07:35

LOMAX’S TRIUMPHANT RETURN

Zac Lomax was on the chopping block a couple of weeks ago amid speculation he was set to be shown the door by the Dragons, but he proved he is worth persisting with in a match winning display against the Tigers.

Lomax finished with 188 run metres, two tackle busts, one offload, a linebreak assist, a try assist and a try in a 10-point haul.

However, it was his flick pass for Mikaela Ravalawa’s try that proved the match winning play in a tight contest.

Matty Johns believes Lomax is benefiting from a return to his preferred position.

“Zac Lomax is really up and about he has been good of late,” Johns said.

“For while there Anthony Griffin had him playing on the left side. It made no sense because he is right foot centric.

“Since he has gone back to the right side he has been bloody good.”

Nathan Hindmarsh believes Lomax is responding to the kick up the backside from the conjecture surrounding his future at the club.

“It is amazing what a bit of a rocket can do,” Hindmarsh said.

“A few weeks ago he was pretty much asked to move on from the Dragons or they were considering letting him go from his contract.”

Bryan Fletcher believes Lomax has all the skills to become a fullback under incoming coach Shane Flanagan.

“He found his mojo on the right, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him at fullback,” Fletcher said.

“But the flick pass is just one of the plays he can do and his goal kicking has improved.

“I reckon when he is kicking well he plays well.”

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Hindy’s Revenge: The Surstromming return | 08:50

TUPOU’S NIGHT OUT

Tigers youngster Junior Tupou showed just how dangerous he can be on Thursday night, scoring a double in his side’s loss to the Dragons.

The 20-year-old flyer exposed his opposing winger, with five-eighth Daine Laurie consistently targeting the short side.

Tupou was ever-present in attack in the first half and one moment of brilliance summed up his performance.

On the stroke of halftime, the young gun broke down the wing and showed “poise” to deliver a perfect kick to skipper Apisai Koroisau to score.

“Have a look at this for skill, off the right boot and perfectly timed,” Roach said.

“Look at this for a kick… at full tilt, what a try from the skipper right on the stroke of halftime.

“He had the poise and the presence of mind to sum things up at the back, the kick was just delightful,” Smith said.

Tupou finished the contest with 186 running metres, 10 tackle breaks and four line breaks in an impressive performance.

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