Gareth Widdop scored seven of his eight kicks as the St. George Illawarra Dragons secured two points in a 34-12 victory over Brisbane Broncos in the 2018 NRL opener
Brisbane took the lead with a penalty inside the opening ten minutes as Jordan Kahu, who has been the first try-scorer for the past two NRL seasons, got the first points of the 2018 campaign.
St. George hit back moments later with a penalty of their own with Gareth Widdop equalling the score up at 2-2.
Widdop struck again with 15 minutes played to give the hosts the lead for the first time of the night as he scored another penalty.
Tyson Frizell put the Dragons further ahead as he crashed over for a try on the half hour mark, Widdop would add the extras and the hosts held a 10-2 advantage at the break.
With five minutes of the second half played, Brisbane hit back. A wonderful pass from Jamayne Isaako to find James Roberts whilst being tackled out of play saw the Broncos go over for the second try of the match. Kahu was unable to add the extras but the deficit was cut to four.
Ben Hunt scored shortly after to make up for the error that led to the Broncos try just minutes earlier. He intercepted a pass and went over underneath the posts, setting up an easy kick for Widdop to make it 16-6.
Another Widdop penalty with 25 minutes left put the Dragons 12 points clear in front of their home supporters.
Euan Aitken got his 20th career try as the game entered the final 20 minutes when he powered through two tackles to score out in the right corner. Widdop scored the resulting conversion to continue his perfect kicking night.
Roberts got his, and the Broncos’, second try of the night as they looked to mount a comeback with the game entering its latter stages. He exploited a gap in the Dragons defence and, combined with Kahu’s kick, moved them back to within 12 points.
Jack De Belin ensured the Dragons would be leaving with the two points as he crashed over the line despite players attempting to bring him down. Widdop’s extras restored the 18-point lead.