A rampaging second half double from Tariq Sims has seen the St George Illawarra Dragons claim a 22-13 victory over the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Fighting back from a 13-6 deficit midway through the second half, the Dragons second-rower put in a Man of the Match performance against a Knights side decimated by injuries.
Losing Mitchell Pearce (pectoral), Tex Hoy (hamstring) and Kurt Mann (concussion) during play, David Klemmer soldiered through a knee injury but could be in trouble after being placed on report twice in first half.
In a physical and occasionally spiteful opening, the Dragons looked to score first through Mikaele Ravalawa after Klemmer conceded a penalty for striking while in passion. Replays from the bunker subseuqently overturned the decision due to an infringement from Josh Kerr in the lead up.
Making the most of the fortuitous call by striking back in the following set, Gehamat Shibasaki (9th minute) was on the spot to capitalise on a knock on from Cody Ramsey.
Losing Pearce midway through the first half with a suspected pectoral tear, the Dragons levelled the scores through interchange forward Trent Merrin (32nd minute), who took advantage of an error from Tex Hoy.
The Knights regained the lead on the stoke of halftime courtesy of a Kurt Mann one-pointer, however it came at a cost with Hoy forced from the match with an injured hamstring.
Appearing to defy their circumstances with a powerhouse effort from interchange forward Josh King (47th minute) close to the line, Sims (51st minute) stepped up moments later after by running onto a beautiful pass from replacement halfback Adam Clune.
Reduced to a one-man bench for the final quarter after a heavy collision from Ravalawa saw Mann exit the match early, a charge down from Sims (60th minute) after the resumption of play put the visitors in front for the first time.
Securing the result courtesy of a Brayden Williame (67th minute) try, a questionable forward pass ruling denied Hymel Hunt to the chagrin of 21,770 home fans and allowed the Dragons to hold on for their third consecutive win.
Next week, the Knights take on the Titans on Saturday afternoon, while the Dragons face the Eels on Sunday evening.