The St George Illawarra Dragons were 13-0 winners over the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites scored two tries in the win courtesy of Eto Nabuli and Josh Dugan to claim the inaugural Alex McKinnon Cup.
Head Coach Paul McGregor had opted not to make any changes to the line-up announced midweek which subsequently saw prop Rory O’Brien drop-off the interchange bench.
The opening exchanges of the fixture had seen both teams test one another’s defensive resolve in the wet and windy conditions but ultimately it was the visitors who made the breakthrough play.
Dragons winger Eto Nabuli was the man of the moment by taking matters into his own hands with a galloping run down the left flank which went unattested in the 15th minute.
The Dragons continued to absorb the home side’s several pressing advances forward as the game continued but were unable to cross the stripe again themselves prior to halftime.
However, the Dragons did make the most of an awarded penalty two minutes from the interval which was converted by five-eighth Gareth Widdop to make it 6-0.
The second-half proved testing for both teams with neither outfit wanting to gift the other the slightest advantage.
The Dragons though remained the more dangerous with the ball but had been denied any further points until fullback Josh Dugan’s outstretched arm remedied this in the 65th minute of play.
Widdop struck soon after to make it 12-0.
The Dragons left no stone unturned as they searched for their third consecutive win and halfback Benji Marshall reaffirmed this with a well-struck field goal nine minutes from time.
St George Illawarra Dragons 13. Tries: Nabuli, Dugan. Goals: Widdop (1/2). Penalty Goal: Widdop (1/1). Field Goal: Marshall (1/1).
Newcastle Knights 0.