Jack de Belin has made his first appearance for St George Illawarra in the NRL since 2018, as the Dragons scored nine tries in a 52-24 drubbing of the Brisbane Broncos.
- De Belin played for 26 minutes in his first NRL match in almost three years
- Matt Dufty impressed for the Dragons with two tries
- The loss was the Broncos’ 10th of the season
A week after sexual assault charges against him were withdrawn, de Belin made his Dragons return with 26 minutes off the interchange bench in Kogarah on Thursday night.
After two minutes on the field, de Belin rushed up out of the line and made a bad miss on the stepping Albert Kelly in the lead-up to a Teurui Robati try for the Broncos.
But de Belin began to make an impact with the ball in hand late in the first half.
He twice took the ball to the line and passed to create space for Matt Dufty to put his teammate over the tryline untouched a minute before half-time.
Dufty made a statement with his performance against the Broncos, as the Dragons posted 50 points for the first time since March, 2018.
A week after being told by the Dragons he would not be kept on as fullback for 2022, Dufty set up five tries and scored two of his own in arguably the best match of his career.
He created their first when he dummied and stepped past Tyson Gamble with ease and put Jack Bird over from 40 metres out.
With the Dragons down 18-12, Dufty brought them level when he put Gerard Beale through a hole with a cut-out ball, before chasing through for his try on half-time to claim a 24-18 lead at the break.
The Broncos’ tries in the opening half came through a Robati double and a four-pointer from David Mead.
The Dragons’ scored five tries to one in the second half, with Dufty completing his double in the 77th minute.
Brisbane’s nightmare was exacerbated by an ankle injury to Kobe Hetherington in what was the Broncos’ 10th loss of the season.