St George Illawarra Dragons hand Canterbury Bulldogs 40-4 drubbing at Kogarah

Try time: Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa celebrates his try against Canterbury at Kogarah on Sunday. Picture: AAP Image
Try time: Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa celebrates his try against Canterbury at Kogarah on Sunday. Picture: AAP Image

And just like that, the Dragons have won three on the trot.

St George Illawarra put in their best performance of the season so far, thrashing Canterbury 40-4 at Kogarah on Sunday afternoon.

In front of 13,409 fans at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Ben Hunt gave Queensland selectors a gentle reminder of his ability as he scored two tries and had a hand in four others to help the Dragons hand the hapless Dogs a drubbing.

After starting the season with a tough loss in Townsville and a disappointing defeat to South Sydney, alarm bells were ringing for some before the Dragons bounced back with one-point wins over Brisbane and Newcastle.

But this was by far their best performance. Strong and aggressive in defence, slick and confident in attack. Corey Norman appears to have settled in the No.6 red V jersey, while Matt Dufty continues to grow in confidence at fullback in the absence of injured captain Gareth Widdop.

The Dragons opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Hunt threw a perfect cutout pass that tempted Kerrod Holland into chasing an intercept. But the Bulldogs centre could only watch it sail onto the chest of Euan Aitken who touched down out wide.

A Tim Lafai penalty goal extended the Dragons' lead to 8-0 midway through the half before they blew the game wide open on the half hour mark.

With Canterbury on the attack, Hunt produced a one on one steal from Rhyse Martin. The halfback scampered downfield before being rounded up. The Dragons then shifted left, with Lafai crossing to make it 12-0.

Four minutes later and it was 18-0. Mikaele Ravalawa had it all to do 10 metres from the Bulldogs' line after he reeled in Hunt's long, looping pass. But the young Fijian winger showed great strength to hold off Holland and plant the ball down in the corner.

The Dragons left the field to a standing ovation at Kogarah, just as they did in round two against Souths. Unlike that day, St George Illawarra went on with the job in the second half.

They could have added to their tally just two minutes after half-time, only for Dufty's long pass to Ravalawa to be ruled forward after the Bulldogs had gifted the Dragons possession with a mistake in front of their own posts.

They then had an Aitken effort disallowed before Jordan Pereira sealed the result midway through the second half.

Dufty attacked the Dogs' line with speed before Lafai's quick hands found Pereira, with the winger cutting back on the inside to score and make it 22-0.

Paul Vaughan left the field with a slight ankle strain and didn't return but the Dragons didn't let it slow them down.

Holland's unhappy afternoon continued when he attempted an offload to no one 10m out from his own line, allowing Hunt to toe the ball into the in-goal and score.

St George Illawarra were in party mode and, with eight minutes to play, Zac Lomax crossed for his first career try after the Bulldogs dropped a Norman bomb into the hands of Hunt, who found the young centre to touch down.

Reimis Smith scored a late consolation try for Canterbury before Hunt finished off a try as equally bizarre as it was brilliant right on full-time.

The Dragons do not return to Kogarah until round 20. They play three of their final six games at Jubilee.

St George Illawarra host an in-form Manly in Wollongong on Saturday night, with either the Dragons or the Sea Eagles to win their fourth match in a row.

On this performance, the Saints' march will be hard to stop.

Leader Scoreboard

St George Illawarra Dragons 40 (Ben Hunt two, Euan Aitken, Tim Lafai, Mikaele Ravalawa, Jordan Pereira, Zac Lomax tries. Tim Lafai four goals, Zac Lomax two goals)

defeated

Canterbury Bulldogs 4 (Reimis Smith try)

at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah

Crowd: 13,409

Leader man of the match: Ben Hunt (Dragons)

Dragons' next three: Sea Eagles (home - Wollongong), Roosters (away), Eels (away)

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