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Dragons hooker Issac Luke.

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor insists he's not concerned with the side's fadeout following their 26-12 loss to South Sydney in the Charity Shield on Saturday night.

The Dragons led 12-4 at half-time but were kept scoreless in the second half to surrender an eight-point lead in front of 9,124 in Mudgee.

McGregor rested Australian forwards Tyson Frizell and Paul Vaughan after half-time but had key halves Corey Norman and Ben Hunt on the paddock for most of the contest.

McGregor said the Rabbitohs lifted another gear to secure their fifth Charity Shield since 2014 – a feat not lost on the Dragons coach, who is yet to win the pre-season trial.  

"You want to win every game you play," McGregor said.

"We had a good series in the Nines and backed that up with a handy win against Newcastle. I just thought the second half what they put on the field had more purpose behind it.

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Dragons

"There were 20 offloads in the game with 13 in the second half. It shows when you don't control field position, those big boys get on the front foot.

"If you look at the way they scored their tries they were one off the ruck with an offload and put it down. In the first half we repeatedly defended that.

"We'll obviously work on that because It's not something you want to see in your final trial. But in saying that there were things out there we liked. We gave a lot people opportunity tonight."

The Dragons started poorly with an error in the first minute through Blake Lawrie to concede an opening try but bounced back to go into the break with two tries of their own.

"I thought the first 40 was good with the amount of work we did in defence," McGregor said.

"We came to a nice handy lead at 12-4 and then started to make some changes. The start of the second half we had some opportunities we didn't finish. One to Euan and the other side to Laf.

"Possession went the other way and we come up with some silly penalties and kicking it dead, kicking it out on the full.

"You've got to expect it in a trial. We learnt a lot from both halves and obviously settle on a line up before round one."

Vaughan answers back for the Dragons

Dragons prop James Graham is expected to return for the side's season opener against Wests Tigers on March 15 despite not featuring in any pre-season hit-out.

"He's played a lot of footy and doesn't really need a trial," Dragons teammate Paul Vaughan said. 

"He's battle-hardened and we've got all the confidence he'll be right to go in round one."

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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