League: Sonny Bill worth entrance fee

NRL
Bulldogs 30
Dragons 18

Not too many moons ago a clash between St George-Illawarra and Canterbury would have quickened the pulse. This season there is very little reason for the neutral to become engaged... except to watch Sonny Bill Williams, that is.

He gave another display of his awesome talents at ANZ Stadium last night, remarkably managing to seem low key despite having a hand in four tries. All the while his team received plenty of assistance from a Dragons side that resembled a rabble.

Nowhere was that better illustrated than on the halftime hooter when Rangi Chase fluffed a kick straight into the hands of Willie Tonga who galloped 70m to score under the posts.

Before that, Williams had bookended one of his handling errors with a hand in the Bulldogs first two tries.

First he made a brilliant break and one-handed offload that gave his side field position for the first of Daniel Holdsworth-Matt Utai kick and gather tries. Then his presence alone was enough to put Tim Winitana in after he drew three defenders to him at close range and made the simplest of transfers to the young centre.

He started the second half like a man possessed, bursting through a Red Sea-sized hole, drawing the fullback before passing to Danny Williams to score.

To prove that he has the skills of a back he then delicately kicked into the in-goal for Winitana to spectacularly win the chase. Next week: Sonny Bill plays league while riding a unicycle and juggling.

Even the injury-enforced absence of Hazem El Masri wasn't going to prove the difference, though Holdsworth's first effort from next to the posts would have done a disservice to a blind man wearing waders, let alone the superboot El Masri.

For the Dragons, there was very little to get excited about, unless you're the type who gets excited by heritage jerseys and that sort of thing.

Matt Cooper scored a nice try and Simon Woolford scored in the next set of six but it was always going to be a little too late.

It was also no coincidence that St George's resurgence came when a certain Kiwi international was nursing a few bumps and bruises from the safety of the sideline.

The win made it seven on the bounce for the Bulldogs against the Dragons. The side from Sydney's west can't claim to have the number of many clubs these days but St George is certainly one of them.

Bulldogs(M. Utai 2 T. Winitana 2 W. Tonga D. Williams tries, D. Holdsworth 2 gls), Dragons (C. Stanley M. Cooper S. Woolford tries, B. Hornby 3 gls). Ht: 20-6.

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 24 Nov 2014 14:24:19 Processing Time: 1318ms