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Seeking a ninth successive win, the Warriors came unstuck against a rampant Dragons team missing many regulars through injury or on State of Origin duty.
The Warriors opened the scoring in the first quarter with a try to John Carlaw but from then until late in the final quarter it was all one-way traffic.
The Dragons big forwards stopped the Warriors in their tracks with the home team's static defensive line also proving a downfall.
Dragons captain Lance Thompson led by example and was well supported by a host of willing helpers. Illawarra junior Ben Horny capped a storming game with a brace of tries as did Lee Hookey.
St George-Illawarra stretched their 16-4 halftime lead out to 32-8 with three tries after the break which finally stirred the Warriors into action.
Tries to Henry Fa'afili, Brent Webb and Ali Lauiti'iti gave the Warriors the sniff of a late comeback but the Dragons remained intent on notching their fourth win of the season.
Both teams scored five tries but the Dragons had a superior success rate with the boot, the Warriors only landing one kick after superboot Ivan Cleary left the field.
Despite the loss the Warriors remain in the top four on the points table while the Dragons reignited their playoff hopes.
With the referees cracking down on dissent, Warriors' Richard Vilasanti was sent to the sinbin for backchat late in the second half while Aaron Gorrell, who had a strong game from halfback, was sinbinned for a professional foul 10 minutes from the end.
Kevin Campion for the Warriors and the Dragons Ben Ross were both put on report for dangerous tackles.