The Bond Store match of the week at Teimurimotia Park on Saturday doubled as the inaugural Brothers in Arms Trophy challenge in memory of fallen union stalwart Rea Rea.
Although the final 33-17 scoreline may look flattering for the Bulls fans, the contest was a tight one and the Dragons were well in the match until the 70th minute of play, with the score locked at 23-17.
The more dominant Bulls pack was able to score 10 points in that final 10 minutes – a converted try and penalty, to seal the win.
Two of the Bulls’ tries were scored off the back of a dominant scrum, with their halfback running to the blindside channel to put his winger away in at the corner flag.
“The Dragons backline were a constant threat to the opposition until they lost their starting centre, Pao Lauama due to injury,” Cook Islands Rugby Union chief executive Ben Koteka said.
Best players for the Dragons were inside centre Mark Tuaati, utility back Ngana Nicholas and also busy flanker Johnny Pierre.
For the Bulls, strong-running number eight and captain Geoff Mangele, halfback James Tofilau and blindside flanker Clarke Ngaau were impressive.
In the other Senior A match, Tupapa Panthers bounced back from a lacklustre start against the Dragons last week to beat former champions and neighbours Takuvaine Reds at Victoria Park.
Panthers raced to a 15-5 lead at the break and weathered a late onslaught from the Reds to clinch the 22-15 win.
At Avatiu Field, defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels defeated Arorangi Cowboys 32-11.
“The Cowboys forward pack played well but there was a general lack of punch from their backline.
Players to impress for the Eels were loose forwards Toks Raru and Wally Tangata Jr and also tough midfielder Tua Ravula,” Koteka said.
Titkaveka Bulls: 33 Tries: Napoleon Masirewa, Emosi Togavaki, Vatu Sika and Pita Bolatoga, Conv: Bill Tangapiri (2), Pen: Bil Tangapiri (3); Ngatangiia Dragons: 17 – Tries: Ngana Nicholas and Fale Sooialo, Conv: Daniel Toa, Pen: Daniel Toa (2)