5 most memorable Dragons moments 2012

1) Dragons' Anzac Day win over the Roosters

How can you go past this for the highlight of the Dragons’ season? With five minutes on the clock, referee Matt Cecchin over-reacts to a complaint from Jamie Soward and awards the Roosters a penalty shot from right in front. That puts the Roosters in front 24-16 and the game seemed as good as over. But then Ben Hornby walked the ball back to the halfway and put up a short kick-off for Jason Nightingale to catch. The Roosters let Nighty run from one side of the field to the other, and he finds a straight-running Matt Prior who gets over the line.

The conversion took the score to 24-22. Then, inside the final minute, we have the ball on their line. Nathan Fein runs from dummy half, offloads to Michael Weyman, who is pushed back from the line. But he offloads to Ben Creagh, who scores next to the posts. The conversion made the final score 28-24 - that’s two converted tries in under five minutes. Incredible.

2) Ben Hornby breaks Norm Provan’s record

That Anzac Day game was special for another reason - it marked the match that Ben Hornby overtook Norm Provan to become the most-capped Dragons player ever. He entered that match tied with the Dragons legend on 256 games. He walked off the field with the Anzac Day cup, a tally of 257 games and an undeniable place in Dragons history.

3) Beating Cronulla in Round 19

Regular five-eighth Jamie Soward didn’t start this game. Then, 10 minutes in, his replacement Kyle Stanley got injured and left the field. Losing your first and second-choice playmakers in such a fashion would have caused havoc for most teams. I expected it to create havoc in a team like the Dragons, especially against a team like the Sharks, who had lost just five games all season at that point.

But the Dragons hardly seemed to miss a beat. They played the sort of attacking footy we saw too little of this season and backed it up with strong defence to keep the Sharks out. When the final siren sounded, we’d won 18-10 - and kept our slim finals chances alive in the process.

4) First ever golden point win

I’ve long been a huge critic of golden point - the idea of it getting a result is stupid because a draw is a result. As a Dragons supporter I’ve got another reason to hate golden point - we always lose those games. At least until Round One, 2012. Up against the Knights in Newcastle to kick off the season (on a Thursday night. Footy shouldn’t be played on a Thursday). Up against former coach Wayne Bennett. The game ended at 14-all, after the Knights slotted a late goal - after a dodgy penalty awarded by that Cecchin. Late in the first half of extra time, Soward kicked a 30-metre field goal to win our first ever - and still only - golden point match.

5) Beating Wayne Bennett ... twice

I have some mixed feelings about Wayne Bennett. On the one hand, I’m in his debt because he brought us the premiership that I’d been waiting decades for. But on the other hand, he left us for another side. I didn’t like that at all. Then there’s the presence of Darius Boyd to think about as well. So I was ready for a little vengeance when we played the Knights. We pipped them in Round One and then got them again just over a month later in Round Seven with a 12-4 scoreline, where neither side could score a point in the second half.

What would you add to the list? Leave your comments below.

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