St George Illawarra won a war of attrition 13-0 on a wet and windy Saturday night at Hunter Stadium to end Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the NRL season and claim the inaugural Alex McKinnon Cup.
In front of a crowd of 14,261, the Dragons extended their winning run to three games with a sterling effort in defence and tries to Eto Nabuli (16th minute) and Josh Dugan (63rd) in the round-five match.
Gareth Widdop converted the Dugan try and kicked a 37th-minute penalty goal, while Benji Marshall hit a field goal in the 71st.
The Alex McKinnon Cup was created to acknowledge the Aberdeen junior who played for both clubs before his spinal injury last year.
In a tough night for Newcastle, Test back-rower Beau Scott limped off with an ankle injury in the 56th minute and Tariq Sims was put on report for a high shot just 14 minutes into his debut for the club.
Dugan left the field in the 77th minute with concussion.