A slashing Reimis Smith hat-trick has helped the Canterbury Bulldogs to a stunning 38-0 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons at Jubilee Oval this afternoon, putting a major dent in the Red V's top four hopes in the process.
It was an emotion-charged lead up to proceedings as the 12436 fans on show paid tribute to one of the club's favourite sons, Lance Thompson who tragically passed away late on Thursday evening at the tender age of 40.
The Dragons were unable to convert the emotion into their on-field performance however and from the moment centre Josh Morris scooped up a grubber from pivot Lachlan Lewis to dive over in the 18th minute it was all one sided traffic from the visitors.
Two tries in the space of five minutes to electric winger Smith shortly after set the game alight and sent reminders to the old Bulldogs ‘Entertainers' tag from the eighties.
The first came after a couple of offloads from William Hopoate and Kerrod Holland sent the winger racing through the middle of Dragons defenders who opted to take Matt Dufty on for speed and burnt him on his outside to stun the Dragons faithful.
Moments later following a Dragons error, a quick spread to the right saw Smith cross for his second in a diving effort for the corner in which he amazingly transferred the ball from his right to left hand to plant it down just inside the corner post.
Holland with his toughest kick of the afternoon, converted from the touchline to give his team an eventual 18-0 lead at halftime.
A penalty goal ten minutes into the second stanza to Holland seemingly ended any hopes of a home team comeback with the lead slipping more than three converted tries clear.
The second half lacked any real excitement until Smith again sent Bulldogs fans into raptures with another stunning long range effort in the 66th minute.
Hopoate was again involved in the lead up drifting across field upon a kick return before sending his winger bursting into the backfield with a peach of a pass. Smith this time took Dufty on his inside and again burnt him for speed to give his team a 26-0 lead.
A couple of late tries to Brett Morris and Ofahiki Ogden rubbed further salt into the Dragons wounds who now sit in sixth position on the competition ladder and two points outside what now looks an unlikely top four spot.
They will also be sweating on the fitness of centre Euan Aitken and winger Jason Nightingale who picked up hamstring and elbow injuries respectively in the onslaught.
Next week, they head north to McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday to clash with the Knights in what shapes as another tricky contest with Newcastle always lifting on their traditional old boys day.
After a difficult opening half of the season, the Bulldogs will be looking to continue their late season surge and finish on a winning note when they host the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.