Casuarina proved too strong for a very competitive Darwin Dragons outfit with a 24-3 victory in an entertaining match at Rugby Park last night.
The Cougars played the match with plenty of width and regularly moved the ball from one side of the field to the other.
The Dragon’s defence was up for the challenge and the pressure applied resulted in numerous handling errors by the Cougars.
It took 20 minutes for Casuarina to score the first points of the match.
After losing a line-out on their own throw 15 metres from the Dragons try line, inspirational flanker Bobby Nurse ripped the ball back and score.
Greg Smith landed a penalty goal for Dragons and they trailed by two.
Casuarina regathered the ball from the restart and quickly mounted an attack which saw Simaika Sala’a go in for a try.
The Nate Lamb conversion sent Casuarina to the break leading 12-3.
The second half was just five minutes old when Sala’a made an incisive run down the left wing off a Joe Tuisuva pass who then backed up in support to score a try in his first match for the season.
Dragons couldn’t seem to get their hands on the ball and it took 30 minutes of the second half for them to get possession at Casuarina’s end of the field but was unable to breach the rock solid defence.
Joe Albert scored late in the game to earn his side a bonus point for a fourth try which should have come earlier with the final pass going astray on at least three occasions when a try looked certain.
Lamb, Nurse and Albert all played instrumental roles in the victory while new recruit Kurt Meusburger was outstanding.
Dragons are a side that will continue to improve with a consistent line-up and shouldn’t be underestimated by the opponents.
The halves combination of Reece Calkin and Greg Smith works well while Jason Cole and Jason Lim are good runners of the ball with Liam Walker to return after an injury in last week’s Country of Origin Match.
At Moulden Oval South Darwin defeated Palmerston 27-10 after leading 17-10 at half time.
Casuarina 24: Sala’a, Tuisuva, Nurse, Albert Tries, Lamb 2 Conv Def Darwin Dragons 3: Smith Pen Goal.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby.