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Palmerston defeated Darwin Dragons 20-19 in a torrid encounter at Rugby Park last night.

The Dragon’s backline was in sparkling touch early and looked content on playing an expensive game at whatever cost.

Nine minutes into the match Jason Lim opened the scoring in the corner after the ball had been spread from one side of the field to the other.

Greg Smith’s sideline conversion gave the Dragons a handy 7-0 lead.

An Alex Grant Penalty Goal put Palmerston on the board before Grant was the recipient of a short flat pass  from Jett Yates close to the Dragon’s line to post a try.

Grant’s conversion had the Crocs up 10-7 midway through the first half.

A long range Penalty Goal from talented young full back Mark Ross took Palmerston’s lead to 13-7 but Dragons were quickly back on attack.

From a quick Penalty Tap skipper Greg Tobin drove through the Palmerston defence line to score.

Smith’s conversion hit the post and would ultimately prove costly and the teams went to the break with Palmerston holding a slender 13-12 lead.

Dragons had the first opportunity to score in the second half when Drew Tobin ran 60 metres from a tight head scrum win before his pass to Liam Walker was judged to have gone forward.

Shortly after Palmerston’s centre Keedan Steen was sent from the field and the Crocs seemingly had an uphill battle in front of them to hang on to their lead.

Dragon’s hit the front  ten minutes later when Tobin put Walker in under the posts and Smith’s simple conversion had the Dragons up  19-13.

The Crocs scrum that dominated both South Darwin s and Casuarina in the last fortnight was again strong and for the second week in a row were awarded a penalty try which Grant converted.

Greg Smith had an opportunity to grab the lead back however his Penalty attempt cannoned into the goal posts and despite his side regaining the ball they were unable to convert the late possession into points.

Both sides were guilty of numerous unforced errors with Dragons  repeatedly losing  momentum when penalised at the breakdown in possession after the stifling defence by Palmerston.

University came from a 19-8 half time deficit to defeat South Darwin 22-19 and inflict the first loss of the season on the Rabbitohs
Palmerston 20: A Grant Try, Penalty Try, A Grant 2 Conv, Pen, M Ross Pen Def Dragons 19: J Lim, G Tobin, L Walker Tries G Smith 2 Conv.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby.