The Dragons are on the cusp of the top eight after they defeated the Bulldogs 34-24 in a wild game in front of a packed Belmore crowd.
A packed Belmore Sports Ground welcomed the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs home on a glorious afternoon in Sydney. The Bulldogs started the game well and were able to find some time in the St. George Illawarra Dragons 20 metres. However, Matt Burton couldn't seem to get his kicking game right and handed the Dragons a seven-tackle set on multiple occasions during the first period of the half. Whilst the home side was in the Dragons 20, they were able to get a penalty which resulted in a penalty goal from Burton, giving his side an early two-point lead. However, that was as good as it got for the Bulldogs in the first half. On the back of a seven-tackle set, courtesy of a Burton kick that sailed over the dead ball line, the Dragons were able to march into Bulldogs territory. The Dragons were able to receive a few six again calls which eventually led to the first try of the afternoon as Tautau Moga crossed in the corner after a great pass from Zac Lomax enabled to winger to score his first try for the Dragons.
St. George were helped by former Dragon, Matt Dufty who dropped a bomb on the very next set, allowing the Dragons to attack the Bulldogs defensive line. It once again resulted in another try, but this time on the left edge as Ben Hunt and Cody Ramsey linked up to provide Matthew Feagai with his first try of the afternoon. Burton's poor kicking afternoon continued as he sent the kick-off out on the full. The Dragons made the most of the opportunity with Ben Hunt taking on the Bulldogs staggered defensive line himself as he scored next to the uprights. Lomax converted the kick to make it 16 points to two. The home side was able to grab a try before the break thanks to an error from Ramsey. The Bulldogs shifted it to the right, giving Jake Averillo time and space to get on the outside of his opposite man in Moses Suli before scoring in the corner. The Bulldogs had plenty of work to do after the break.
The Bulldogs started the second half in perfect fashion. The home side was able to produce a one on one strip in the Dragons own half, giving them a full set of six in the Dragons half. They made the most of it as they targeted that right edge again and exposed Suli through Averillo's speed, scoring his second try of the afternoon. It didn't take long for the Bulldogs to get on the scoresheet for another try. As the momentum swung their way, they capitalised through Matt Dufty who got on the outside of Ben Hunt and broke the line, and made his way for the try line before passing to Kyle Flanagan to score next to the posts. Burton added the two to give the Bulldogs the lead. The Bulldogs lead hardly lasted, as the Dragons were able to strip the ball from Josh Jackson, resulting in a full set of six attacking the Bulldogs line. They shifted the ball right with Josh Addo-Carr charging out of the line looking for the intercept, however, the Dragons were able to go right around the New South Wales winger as Lomax scored his first try of the game.
Both teams started to throw the ball around as they looked for more points. A Dufty error allowed the Dragons six tackles in the Bulldogs half and the travelling side made the most of the opportunity. A quick play the ball in front of the posts allowed Andrew McCullough to dart out of dummy-half and score under the posts in his first game back from injury. As this match continued to surprise, the Bulldogs brought the deficit down to four points after a classy try from the home side. The Bulldogs shifted the ball left, before Burton put in a grubber kick intended for Addo-Carr, who collected the ball and passed inside for Aaron Schoupp to score the try. The Dragons proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to handle, when in the 75th minute Blake Lawrie was able to barge his way over the try line for his first try of his career, putting his side up by an unassailable 10-points with four minutes left to play. It proved too be too much for the Bulldogs to chase down as the Dragons came away with a 10-point victory over the last placed Bulldogs.
The Dragons now sit just outside the top eight with a 6-6 record as the Bulldogs dwell in last place on the competition ladder.