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Jahream Bula was about the only thing to get excited about in this game.
For the second week in a row, the Wests Tigers fullback put his body on the line to save a certain try.
Bula’s side were clinging to an 18-16 lead when the Dragons burst down field with 90 seconds on the clock. Ben Hunt kicked the ball off the ground to keep the play alive, they spread the ball right before Mikaele Ravalawa scooped up a loose Moses Suli pass and dived for the corner.
But Bula, in just his third game, put his body on the line as Ravalawa failed to score the match-winner.
He did likewise eight days earlier when he somehow stopped Panthers ace Nathan Cleary from scoring a try in the Bathurst slush.
To be blunt, this was a stinker of a game.
David Nofoaluma celebrates his first-half try.Credit: Getty
Both teams are shot for confidence and kept throwing the ball away.
“We were just dumb today,” Hunt told Fox League after the match. “Some of the things we did were just not NRL standard.”
A passage of play just before half-time best much summed up where the two clubs’ seasons are at.
Brandon Wakeham’s grubber bounced off the upright, Tyrell Sloan had about three attempts to ground the ball in-goal but missed, only for Api Koroisau to overrun the ball and knock on in the process.
Ben Hunt pulled no punches in his assessment of the Dragons’ performance.Credit: Getty
Speculation about Anthony Griffin’s future has become boring. How many times can you write a bloke’s obituary? He will be without a job next year, and it has now become a simple case of when the Dragons pull the trigger.
Sunday was their fifth straight loss by a converted try or less.
Jayden Sullivan returned after a stint in reserve grade to score a double, with their best player Hunt shifted to dummy-half to accommodate the 21-year-old.
The Dragons had all the ball to start the second half and hit the lead when Sullivan threw a dummy, stepped off his right foot and crashed over for his second four-pointer.
Then a wobbly Wakeham dropout went 10m and dribbled into touch, handing the ball back to the Tigers.
And they raced down field a couple of minutes later to score via Junior Tupou. Tupou stepped in-field as three Dragons defenders all grabbed at thin air.
It was a lead the Tigers did not relinquish.
The Tigers face South Sydney next week as they chase their first hat-trick of wins since rounds four, five and six in 2018. They did lose John Bateman to a hamstring injury in the warm-up.
The Dragons face North Queensland in Townsville.
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