By Mary Maidiotis
The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 41-12 by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Sunday.
The Young Dragons picked up their sole two tries through fullback Matt Dufty and centre Lachlan Stein.
Head Coach Ben Hornby made minor changes to the side named mid-week with centre Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards and five-eighth Paora Kemp starting in lieu of Izaac Thompson and Drew Hutchison respectively, while Nathan Leatigaga dropped off the bench.
The first quarter was an even tussle, with the Red-and-Whites going closest to scoring through Dufty.
Another chance came for the home-side 15 minutes out from half-time, as Ryan James attempted to pounce on a kick which was unfortunately too heavily-weighted.
The visitors were first to score just two minutes later when Guy Hamilton picked up a loose-ball and ran 90 metres to plant the ball just to the right of the posts.
The Bulldogs combined for their second try ten minutes before the half-time siren, sending five-eighth Brad Keighran under the posts, who then easily converted his own try.
Custodian Dufty gave the hosts their first points right on half-time after the Dragons broke the line straight through the middle, with winger Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga subsequently converting the try to put his side just six points behind at the break.
Opposition centre Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy planted the ball in the right corner in the 47th minute, with Keighran converting to extend the score to 18-6.
Dragons centre Stein was close to finding the white line 55 minutes in, but was ruled to have stepped over the sideline.
Bulldogs lock Renouf To’omaga crossed the line with 20 minutes left on the clock, giving Keighran a straightforward conversion from right in front.
Five minutes later, the visitors extended their lead to 25 with a field goal courtesy of Keighran.
The Bulldogs went over again 10 minutes out from full-time through winger Ethan Natoli.
Red-and-Whites centre Stein would not be denied again with five minutes remaining before the siren, collecting the ball off a bomb and scoring in the corner.
The visitors responded two minutes later when Krisanski-Kennedy went over for his second of the afternoon.
The Blue-and-Whites scored again right on full-time through winger John Fomai.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12. Tries: Dufty, Stein. Goals: Aufaga-Toomaga (2/2).
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 41. Tries: Hamilton, Keighran, Krisnaski-Kennedy (2), To’omaga, Natoli, Fomai. Goals: Keighran (6/7). Field Goals: Keighran (1/1).