Zac Lomax has helped St George Illawarra snap a four-game NRL losing streak, booting the Dragons to a controversial 21-16 win over Newcastle.
In a see-sawing battle at WIN Stadium, the Dragons took the lead on three separate occasions before Lomax nailed a 78th-minute field goal to put the hosts ahead for good.
But it wasn’t without drama, with St George Illawarra fortunate not to be penalised in the final minutes with the score at 17-16.
With Newcastle attempting a short kick-off, Lomax fumbled the ball and Jaydn Su’A appeared to come from an offside position to recover the ball.
Had the penalty been blown, Newcastle would have been in position to take a penalty goal for the lead, set up for a levelling drop goal of their own or a match-winning try.
Instead, the Dragons marched down field and winger Mathew Feagai crossed for his second try to seal the match.
It came after a game that had earlier threatened to boil over, when Lomax jumped on rival Tyson Frizell in a post-try celebration that could earn the attention of the match review committee.
The Knights were unable to gain a set restart, a point not missed by their consultant Andrew Johns in commentary.
The win wasn’t pretty but it was precisely what the Dragons needed after a horror start to the season that had the pressure on coach Anthony Griffin.
The Knights are now in the middle of their own four-game losing streak.
Kalyn Ponga had his best game of the season, as reports from The Daily Telegraph emerged on kick off that Newcastle had pulled a contract extension off the table.
The fullback loomed up on the inside to score a try and set up another, after he stepped through the line and produced a flick pass for Enari Tuala to score Newcastle’s first four-pointer.
Bradman Best had a big game at left centre, getting the better of Lomax in their tantalising battle before the Dragons back provided the decisive play with the boot.
After both sides fumbled their way through the first half and the Dragons led 8-4, the Knights put themselves back in the game when Dane Gagai finished off a nice try on the right edge.
The Dragons then took the lead back when Ben Hunt wrapped around and broke down the left edge to kick for a chasing Jack Bird to score.
The Saints then scored again, this time through Feagai when they moved to the left.
But Best stood up to get the Knights back in it at 16-all.
The 20-year-old made the most of a David Klemmer offload to get around Lomax, breaking down field and putting Ponga over for his four-pointer.
Ultimately though, Lomax would have the last laugh when he sent a 25-metre field goal deep into the Southern Stand to end a nightmare four weeks for St George Illawarra.