Knights v Dragons: Five key points

The weather was atrocious and the football was scrappy but it didn't stop NRL.com coming up with five key points from St George Illawarra Dragons' 13-0 victory over the previously undefeated Newcastle Knights.

Dragons shut out Knights in the wet
WATCH: Knights v Dragons highlights
WATCH: Newcastle press conference
WATCH: St George Illawarra press conference

Great Wall of Dragons stands tall

From Kogarah to Wollongong and everywhere in between, the Dragons' recent defensive efforts have quickly become folklore. 

In what was their third straight win on Saturday, the Dragons showcased their impressive resiliency – having conceded just one try in their past 220 minutes of football.

With their structures looking impenetrable through large chunks of the game, Dragons coach Paul McGregor was clearly pleased about his team's defensive effectiveness.

"It's a really good thing for a club when you have your attitude right in 'D'. To not let Newcastle score in that second half considering the wind, it's a great pleasure to watch," McGregor said. 

"We turned over the ball a bit and gave them good field position but we just kept turning up for one another. It's a real credit to the guys. It doesn't matter how you win, as long you do win."

Stand-in captain Jason Nightingale was just as proud of his team and their attitude. 

"It's an energy thing and an emotional thing - we just keep finding things for each other," he said.

"It's basically people working for other people. It's not ideal but we're probably enjoying our defence more than our attack at the moment."

Rick Stone needs to pick and stick with his bench utility

Newcastle coach Rick Stone should already be regretting his decision to go with just two big men on his interchange against the Dragons in what were trying conditions.

Dropping rookie prop Pat Vaivai just an hour before kick-off, Stone chose to have both Tyler Randell and Sione Mata'utia on his interchange along with Jack Stockwell and Chris Houston in a move which certainly backfired. 

While Stone has used Mata'utia and Randell with good effect at different times throughout the first five weeks of the season, it has come to a point where Stone needs to pick one of the duo and stick with them for the long run.

Newcastle have looked ridiculously unorganised in different stages of the season, especially when their captain Kurt Gidley shifts to hooker from fullback with Mata'utia coming into play at the back.

On a similar note, Randell - the usual hooking back-up - moving to the back row against the Dragons, where he made only 16 metres, also failed to pay off.

Red V's spine finally starting to stand up

Despite only averaging a meagre 11 points per game in attack, the Dragons' spine is finally starting to gel.

With Benji Marshall, Mitch Rein and Heath L'Estrange playing solidly, it is the form of duo Gareth Widdop and Josh Dugan which really shone in the dour affair.

Widdop especially, in conditions perfect for the Englishman, was able to grab the game by the scruff of its neck. His kicking game into horrendous wind and his overall on-field leadership throughout were keys in the Dragons' journey to success.

Tariq Sims could be off for another holiday

A careless high tackle on opposite back-rower Tyson Frizell could see Tariq Sims' comeback to the NRL cut short after just one appearance.

Having only just returned from a five-match suspension, where he was punished for a shoulder charge on Broncos' captain Justin Hodges when playing for the Cowboys, Sims' chances of playing against Cronulla in Round 6 look bleak once his carryover points are applied to the inevitable charge. 

Coincidentally, his younger brother Korbin is due to return from suspension next weekend, with the Sims set to become the fifth set of brothers to play for the Knights pending the Match Review Committee's decision on Tariq's short-term future.

"There's always concern when someone gets placed on report, especially Taz coming off the back of suspension as it is," coach Stone said in the aftermath. 

"There wasn't a lot in it. It's just up to the judiciary to decide on what it's worth and we'll have a look at the verdict when it comes through."

Alex McKinnon Cup a fantastic initiative

Stand-in Dragons captain Jason Nightingale was a very proud man accepting the inaugural Alex McKinnon Cup following his team's hard-earned victory.

In a thoughtful tribute to the injured former Knight and Dragon, Nightingale poetically explained how the toughly fought battle between the two clubs was reflective of how Alex was as a player.

"I think it's awesome we created a trophy for Alex and for someone who is so strong. I think it was a perfect game to have the inaugural Alex McKinnon Cup because he was a tough player himself and he's a tough kid," Nightingale said. 

"I was able to see him before the game and it was awesome to see him happy about life and to be able to play in his honour. To be able to do it every year now too, I really look forward to it."