The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 24-8 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs in their Heritage Round fixture at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites scored only the two tries in the encounter with both Justin Hunt and Josh Dugan getting their names on the score sheet.
Head Coach Paul McGregor made only the one change to the line-up originally announced midweek with prop Jack de Belin named on the interchange.
The Cootamundra Bulldogs junior had missed the previous two fixtures due to a virus and joined second-rowers Will Matthews and Jake Marketo as well as hooker Heath L’Estrange on the bench.
The Dragons entered the encounter in search of their first win in six attempts but found themselves trailing early in the fixture when Rabbitohs centre Dylan Walker broke free to score in the eighth minute.
Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds converted to make it 6-0.
It could have been a different score line had Dragons winger Justin Hunt not fumbled the ball while crossing the line several minutes earlier.
Dragons halfback Benji Marshall was penalised for holding on to Rabbitohs five-eighth Luke Keary just after the half hour mark and Reynolds made the most of his opportunity to make it 8-0.
Fortunately, the home side went into the interval with a four-pointer when Hunt managed to score where he previously failed just prior to the half time whistle.
The Dragons were forced to absorb several four-pointer attempts by the visitors when second-half play recommenced which dampened any raiding ventures of their own.
Unfortunately, the Rabbitohs found a chink in their hosts’ armour two minutes shy of the hour mark allowing lock Chris McQueen to score in the far right-hand corner.
The Dragons managed to clinch their second try of the encounter through the weaving work of fullback Josh Dugan in the 69th minute.
The NSW Blues representative had been the recipient of a cut-out pass to the far-right by centre Peter Mata’utia, and once ball was in hand, managed to side-step his way past two markers en route to the stripe.
The Rabbitohs however put the game’s result beyond doubt with two late tries in the closing minutes of the game courtesy of halves pairing Reynolds and Keary.
Reynold converted both attempts from the tee to make it 24-8.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8. Tries: Hunt, Dugan. Goals: Widdop (0/2).
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24. Tries: Walker, McQueen, Reynolds, Keary. Goals: Reynolds (3/4). Penalty Goals: Reynolds (1/2).