Canterbury withstood a late Dragons comeback to secure a 28-20 victory at WIN Jubilee Oval in Round 15 last year.
With Des Hasler’s men building in confidence following three consecutive wins, the Bulldogs shot out of the blocks to lead 18-0 inside the opening 17 minutes through tries to Josh Reynolds, Josh Morris and Krisnan Inu.
St George Illawarra slowed their progress in the 29th minute when an offload close to the line and a quick spread out to the right enabled Kyle Stanley to score out wide – Jamie Soward’s sideline conversion closing the gap to eight.
But then came the key period of the game as Reynolds stripped the ball from Dean Young in a one-on-one tackle and raced 40 metres to score as the half-time siren sounded before Barba set up Morris for his second immediately after the break as 18-6 became 28-6 in the blink of an eye.
Those two tries proved crucial for the visitors. Seemingly out of contention, the Dragons finally kicked into gear thanks to a stunning long-range team try that finished with Soward chipping across-field for Daniel Vidot to race through and score. Soward was in the action again moments later with a well-timed pass for Brett Morris to add his side’s third, then Matt Cooper crept over to make it an eight-point ball-game with 16 minutes remaining.
Alas, that was to be the last of the scoring as Canterbury continued their onwards march.
The Dragons produced more runs (151 to 139) and more run metres (1331 to 1204) than their opponents but couldn’t match their 80 per cent completion rate.
Josh Morris impressed for Canterbury with two tries and 138 metres while Trent Merrin was superb for the home side with 190 metres and 29 tackles.