The Super Sunday shellacking wasn't a real surprise for Red V fans as their new-look team went down 50-14 to the under-strength Rabbits.
The weekend's disruptions due to Queensland's snap three-day lockdown were an inconvenient storm that once again the NRL weathered.
Tariq Sims finally got to run out for his 200th NRL game after being presented with his game-day jersey early, but it wasn't much of a celebration as the loss showed they lacked direction and experience.
The Dragons had four players serving their one-game bans for their previous COVID breach and their makeshift centre pairing of Junior Amone and Corey Norman were smashed.
Jack Bird, Jack de Belin, Blake Lawrie and Josh McGuire's one-game suspensions were accounted for following the Shellharbour incident and Poasa Faamausili, Billy Burns, Jayden Hunt, Kaide Ellis and Jackson Ford were the new faces in the team.
It didn't help that Zac Lomax and Daniel Alvaro weren't available as they sat out their individual quarantine.
The Dragons were able to exert some pressure early in the second half and Ben Hunt's boot dragged the Red V back into the match.
Souths, though, weathered that storm and pulled away, extinguishing the pieced together Dragons pursuit.
Coach Anthony Griffin said he still thought they were in it into the second half.
"For sixty minutes, we were doing a reasonable job."
"Our finish to sets at times was very poor and we let them off the hook," he said
"We built pressure at times with our kick chase and tried to turn the game around, but we just couldn't get down their end.
"I thought it was a good experience for our young guys going down the track, but we lost our way with the ball."
The last 15 minutes hurt the young team and the points for and against won't help them in their finals pursuit.
"We have to start winning games," Griffin said
The Dragons coach was not hitting the panic button after the heavy loss, but It doesn't get much easier this week with the now under pressure Red V having a hard run home and facing a resurgent Raiders team who have jumped them in the race to the finals.
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