St George Illawarra triumph in World Club Series opener

The World Club Series got off to a thrilling start as St George Illawarra beat a spirited Warrington side by 18-12.

It was hardly an ideal start for the Wolves who conceded the opening try through Tyson Frizell inside two minutes after Ashton Simms spilled the ball on the second carry.

The hosts nevertheless had the brighter start and would have got their reward through Joel Monaghan had it not been for great covering defence from Eto Nabuli.

Gareth O’Brien, whose kick had previously created the opportunity for Monaghan, proved his worth with a dummy to break past Benji Marshall before similarly fooling full-back Josh Dugan for 6-6. 

Another error from the Wolves inside their own half, this time from Richie Myler, allowed St George Illawarra to retake the lead when Joel Thompson grounded Englishman Gareth Widdop’s grubber.

Nabuli was incredibly lucky not to have been send off for a horrendous high tackle on Kevin Penny, especially as the Fijian’s feet had left the floor.

From the resulting penalty, only the first of an epic first-half, Ryan Atkins barged over but a missed conversion left the Wolves two points adrift at the break.

O’Brien leveled it up with a penalty in the 57th minute after copping a high tackle from Marshall who arguably could have been sin-binned.

Typically Marshall played a key part in the match winning try just five minutes later, his banana kick evading Daryl Clark only to find Dugan who grounded for 18-12.

Monaghan came incredibly close in the final five minutes but the Wolves ultimately lacked the composure for a nail bitting conclusion.

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