The Canterbury Bulldogs have defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons 26-16 in their NRL trial match at a rain drenched WIN Stadium tonight, but the victory may have been costly with winger Matt Utai being forced from the field with an ankle injury.
Utai limped off in damp conditions as the Bulldogs fought back from a 16-12 half time deficit.
Utai's second half try led to a comeback for the Bulldogs as they kept the Dragons scoreless for the second 40 minutes.
Following an impressive start, Dragons coach Nathan Brown rested several star players for the remainder of the trial.
Try scorers centre Matt Cooper and halfback Ben Hornby featured in the opening stanza. New recruit and former Raiders hooker Simon Woolford also put together a strong display.
Bulldogs five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth [pictured] was also rested in the second half by coach Steve Folkes, but not before he kept Canterbury in touch with a try and two goals in the first half.
Dragons centre / five-eighth Mark Gasnier was one of five late withdrawals as influenza reportedly swept through the Dragons club this week.
New recruits Adam Peek, Beau Scott, Ben Ellis and Tony Caine were also sidelined.
DRAGONS 16 v BULLDOGS 26 Scorers Dragons: B Hornby, W Naiqama, M Cooper tries. W Naiqama 2/3 goals Scorers Bulldogs: J Hickey, D Holdsworth, M Utai, K Cleal, D McIlwain tries. D Holdsworth 2/3, A Perry 1/1, Lee Te Maari 0/0 goals. WIN Stadium, Wollongong, NSW Crowd: 6,372 7.30pm HALF TIME: Dragons 16-12 FULL TIME: Bulldogs 26-16