Dufty shines to spark Dragons past Raiders
STEAK sandwiches are the best thing about bush footy?
Not in this one.
No, at Glen Willow Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon, it was a sensational performance from flying St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty that won the game, won the fans and even outshone a Dragons team overflowing with NSW Origin hopefuls.
And, yeah, they were better than the $4 sangas, too.
All of them.
Like Dragons backrower Tariq Sims, who ran for 161m, the most on the field, and Paul Vaughan who racked up 150m.
As for Jack De Belin ... well, he scored a try, made six tackle busts, three offloads, two line breaks, ran for 131m and made 31 tackles, including a massive hit on Raider Luke Bateman.
Only a week after being restricted by a hip flexor injury, De Belin most assuredly played himself into a Blues jersey.
But still, it was Dufty who starred with some eye-catching efforts.
Particularly, his involvement in two sensational long-range tries that are synonymous with bush footy.
And his best of them came when, with nine minutes to play and the scores locked at 18-all, he got the Steeden in hand on halfway ... see, yah.
With seemingly nothing doing, Dufty split between Raiders pair Dunamis Lui and Blake Austin (who had, himself, stopped Sims several times at the tryline) before then going a long looping run to the tryline that also saw him get around centre Jarrod Croker and fullback Jack Wighton.
The second came in the first half.
Starting from inside his own half, Dragons hooker Cam McInnes broke out of dummy-half, pushing off the right foot and away upfield.
From there, it was an offload to a charging De Belin, who in turn offloaded to flying fullback Dufty ... who kicked.
The bouncing ball eventually finding Dragons captain Gareth Widdop, who scooped up the Steeden and dived out to score.
Widdop, too was outstanding as the Dragons earned their first win at their new adopted bush home.
For the Raiders, they were left to rue several key discipline errors.
Winger Jordan Rapana spent 10 minutes in the sin bin in the second half for a professional foul which prevented Nene Macdonald from scoring.
The Raiders also had Josh Papalii and Joseph Tapine on report, both for tackles on Dufty.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 25 (J De Belin M Dufty G Widdop tries G Widdop 6 goals G Widdop field goal) bt CANBERRA 18 (N Cotric J Leilua J Rapana tries J Croker 3 goals) at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium. Referee: Ashley Klein, Peter Gough. Crowd: 8,962