Resurgent St George Illawarra secured their fourth successive NRL win on Sunday in a 31-6 defeat of Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.
The Dragons stumbled their way through the opening two rounds of 2015, but have since emerged as genuine finals contenders over the past month on the back of their stout defence, which was key to the win over the Dogs.
However the victory was not without controversy, Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell lucky to stay on the field for a high tackle that knocked out Dogs forward Tim Browne in the 50th minute.
Browne did not return to the field, after the game stopped for eight minutes as he was put on a stretcher and taken off in a medicab.
It was the Dragons who responded best to that incident, scoring 13 unanswered points from there on in to take the game against the injury and suspension-hit Dogs.
The early exchanges set the tone for much of the game.
The Bulldogs were camped in the Dragons half for most of the opening 10 minutes but couldn’t crack the stoic defence of the joint venture.
Eventually it was the Dragons who posted first points when Josh Dugan forced his way over off a Mitch Rein pass in the 10th minute.
The Dragons continued to repel the Bulldogs throughout the first half and were again rewarded for their efforts when Peter Mata’utia crossed out wide in the 34th minute courtesy of a beautiful long ball from Benji Marshall.
They built on that lead four minutes later when Marshall put a rampaging Frizell over and the Dragons led 18-0 at the break.
Canterbury finally broke the Dragons line, for just the second time in 270 minutes, when Josh Morris scooted over in the 49th minute, to hint of a Bulldogs comeback.
After Browne was taken off on the medicab, it was the Dragons who found an extra gear to race away with the contest.
Joel Thompson speared his way over in the 57th minute, before Marshall slotted a 67th minute field goal that all but sealed the win.
Euan Aitken did just that when the rookie scored his first NRL try in the 71st minute.