A controlled performance in rain-affected conditions has seen the St George Illawarra Dragons return to the top eight with a 12-10 victory over the Canberra Raiders.
Getting the job done at WIN Stadium in a match commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Illawarra Steelers, Dragons captain Ben Hunt once again earned man of the match honours with a performance seen by a hearty group of 7,069 supporters braving the wet Wollongong weather.
Knocking back the opportunity to post points with multiple penalties within kicking range, the Dragons opened the scoring in bizarre circumstances after Jack Wighton batted back a short line drop out which landed into the waiting arms of Talatau Amone (17th minute).
Extending the lead midway through the half just as the rain poured down at its heaviest, Zac Lomax added a penalty goal after Jordan Rapana failed to break the ten metre plane with his line drop out attempt.
Taking advantage of an error inside the Dragons half, young fullback Xavier Savage (30th minute) put the Raiders on the board by taking on the line and using the rain-soaked field to slide over out wide.
Striking a crucial blow with seconds remaining in the opening half, the home side capitalised on Nick Cotric spilling a bomb with Moses Suli (39th minute) powering over Savage to give the Dragons a 12-4 lead.
Using the conditions to their advantage following the change of ends, the Raiders made the most of multiple repeat sets with Tom Starling delivering a terrific pass to give Hudson Young (53rd minute) a clean run underneath the posts.
Failing to make the most of the opportunities due to a lack of patience and execution, the Raiders played out of their own end during the second half as a result of Hunt's instinct to kick early and often.
The Raiders had one final opportunity to score after Cody Ramsey dropped a towering bomb from Jamal Fogarty, however the Dragons managed to hold their line for one final set to run out two-point victors.
Next week, the Dragons will travel to Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Broncos, while the Raiders will have the bye prior to Origin III.