The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 29-10 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Monday.
The Red-and-Whites scored only the two tries in the defeat courtesy of Gerard Beale and Tyson Frizell respectively.
Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor had been forced to make several changes to the line-up midweek following the omission of winger Brett Morris.
The Kiama Knights junior had been ruled out for an indefinite amount of time following a shoulder injury sustained while on duty with the NSW Blues.
This meant utility Peter Mata’utia shifted to the flank with Josh Dugan moving to the three-fourths role while fellow utility Adam Quinlan was called-up as replacement custodian.
Unfortunately, Dragons prop Mike Cooper became another late addition to the injury ward after being ruled out of the match with a minor neck injury.
This provided a spot on the interchange for hooker Shane Pumipi to make his first-grade debut.
The new look Dragons started strongly in the first period and absorbed several bouts of pressure directed their way by the hosts.
The visitors however were unable to convert their opportunities into points and were punished by a Rabbitohs side who did just that with three converted tries before the interval.
Rabbitohs winger Joel Reddy was the first to notch a four-pointer following his dash down the left line in the 22nd minute and did likewise again for his second six minutes from the break.
Rabbitohs lock Sam Burgess secured his name on the score sheet in between the flanker’s brace ajar of the half-hour mark.
Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds converted all three goals to make it 18-0.
Yet the Dragons determination to score never went astray and they replied with a sharp set-of-six that set-up centre Gerard Beale to cross in the final minute of the period.
The visitors much maligned defence withstood a similar barrage of attack by the hosts when second-half play commenced but stood strong for the opening twenty minutes.
However, the Rabbitohs managed to finally penetrate their opponent’s barricades and recorded a further two tries just after the hourmark.
The homeside crossed the stripe courtesy of a weaving try executed by Reynolds in the 63rd minute before centre Dylan Walker did likewise three minutes later.
Reynolds converted the second attempt to make it 28-4.
But the visitors were not to be deterred and scored again through lock Tyson Frizell with ten minutes remaining.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop converted to make it 28-10.
However, Reynolds negated any remote opportunity of a comeback by the Dragons with a field goal six minutes from time.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 29 defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons 10
St George Illawarra Dragons 10. Tries: Beale, Frizell. Goals: Widdop (1/2).
South Sydney Rabbitohs 29. Tries: Reddy (2), S Burgess, Reynolds, Walker. Goals: Reynolds (4/5). Field Goal: Reynolds (1/1).