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The score sheet read a decisive 38-12 win for St George Illawarra in the their trial against the Knights but the real interest surrounded who would play fullback for the Dragons in the absence of an injured Matt Dufty and who would be Mitchell Pearce's partner in the Knights' halves.

It seems the Dragons have found a capable fullback in Lomax to ease the pain of losing Dufty (cheekbone) for the early rounds of the 2020 NRL season.

Lomax featured in two tries and kicked four goals – two from the sidelines – to show he should also take on the goal-kicking duties this year.

For the Knights, Pearce and Kurt Mann look to have shored up the starting halves spots for Adam O'Brien's NRL side but the new coach might have some problems with the depth of talent at the squad.

After scores were locked at 6-6 at half-time, O'Brien had major changes across the park to give as many a possible a taste of NRL-standard play in the trial against the Dragons at Maitland Sports Ground.

But four quick tries in the third quarter – a hat-trick to winger Jordan Pereira, and one to Brayden Wiliame – and the Dragons were away. They piled on 22 unanswered points.

They were also exposing soft defence on the Knights right edge, after all the personnel shifts at half-time.  

Gone were halves Pearce and Mann, and in came Mason Lino at No.7 and fullback Tex Hoy into No.6.

But the Dragons had also benched their first-half halves combination in Ben Hunt and a blond-haired Corey Norman for Billy Brittain and Adam Clune.

Paul McGregor's injury-hit side raced out to 28-6 before the Knights' NSW under-20s hooker Luke Huth finally crossed for the Knights second try with the match all but gone.

Pereira scored his fourth and with 10 minutes left to play, the Knights looked like a beaten side. Clune finishing off a Wiliame bust up the middle confirmed it.

Strange because it was all the Knights in the opening 20 minutes.

After being camped inside the Dragons red zone, Daniel Saifiti managed to get an offload away despite two defenders all over him for hooker Chris Randall to score.

Randall is on the Knights development list having played NSW Cup in 2019 as a hooker-half. He had just taken over the No.9 duties from new recruit Jayden Brailey, who has lost none of his tackling work ethic since moving to the Knights from the Sharks.

Stand-in fullback Hoy – Kalyn Ponga was on duty in the Maori All Stars – converted showing his goal-kicking prowess. He had already shown safe hands under a couple of Ben Hunt bombs, and a rugged spirit after several big hits from the Dragons pack.

The visitors equalled when Lomax threw a superb cut-out pass for his right winger Mikaele Ravalawa to score out wide.

Lomaz then converted from the sideline, which helped make up for kicking out on the full in the restart after quarter-time drinks.

There were a lot of talented Dragons that never set foot on the playing field.

Trent Merrin and James Graham were at the ground but didn't play.

Dufty was there too, smiling and chatting with Dragons fans and showing no signs of having facial surgery earlier in the week as a result from a whack to the face at the Perth Nines.

Cameron McInnes (knee), another wounded Dragon, was also on the sidelines cheering on his teammates.

Issac Luke wasn't there as he was with the Maori All Stars with Ponga.

The Dragons had the appearance of a slice of Swiss cheese with amount of holes from those out injured or enjoying a rest.

But McGregor will be pleased with the pluck his Dragons showed. He also made major positional switches for the second half but his players kept the momentum going.

NRL Trials: Knights v Dragons

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Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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