5 Oct 2010

Monkey off the Dragons' back

12:18 am on 5 October 2010

Kiwis winger Jason Nightingale crossed twice and his New Zealand team-mate Nathan Fien once as the St George Illawarra Dragons took the National Rugby League Premiership home on Sunday night in Sydney.

The 32-8 thrashing of the Roosters was especially poignant for Fien, who was shown the door at the Warriors last year.

The interchange back says he's proud to be part of the Dragons team which turned the club's bad luck around.

The victory was the joint venture's first NRL premiership since the merger 12 years ago. It's the first title in 31 years as St George.

The red and whites destroyed the Roosters on Sunday night with a second-half avalanche of tries.

Despite being down 8-6 at half-time, coach Wayne Bennett refocused the players, and the minor premiers came out for the second stanza a different side, running in four answered tries as the Dragons stormed back to crush the Roosters 32-8 to claim the joint venture's first NRL premiership.

The win enhanced Bennett's standing as the game's greatest coach - the man who is already the most successful with seven premierships - now completing the last task on his list of things to do with a title for two different clubs.

The win also erased the pain of last year's finals fade-out - the Dragons the most dominant side in the competition over the last two years finally with something to show for it as they emerged victorious after five grand final losses since their last title in 1979.