Illawarra have suffered a heavy 38-0 loss against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Belmore Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors had their work cut out for them before a whistle was blown, with halfback Shaun Nona ruled out of the clash due to concussion. This opened the door for a new halves combination consisting of local products Adam Clune and Jai Field.
Additionally, Will Matthews made his return to the paddock after suffering a dislocated hip in the Dragons’ pre-season Charity Shield clash against the Rabbitohs.
Illawarra looked flat early and were made to pay for this when Richie Kennar crossed the stripe within the first ten minutes. The hosts would continue their first half enthusiasm by running in a further two four-pointers to give themselves a comfortable 18-0 lead.
Given recent form, a comeback victory for Illawarra was never out of the equation but hope was shortly diminished when Bulldog Tyrone Phillips ran in for a try shortly after the intermission.
The Bulldog would go on to score three more tries courtesy of Reimis Smith, Josh Cleeland and Kennar who bagged his double late, as well as a penalty goal to Rhyse Martin.
Illawarra will be looking to turn things around quickly when they face competition leaders Wyong at WIN Stadium next Saturday.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 38 (Richie Kennar 2, Brenko Lee, Brad Abbey, Tyrone Phillips, Reimis Smith, Josh Cleeland; Brad Abbey 3, Rhyse Martin 1 goal(s)) defeated Illawarra 0 at Belmore Sportsground. Half-time: Bulldogs 18-0.