Dragons fall short against Rabbitohs

They had a new coach, a new centre and a new fullback, but it was the same old sorry story for St George Illawarra against South Sydney on Monday night.

Dragons interim coach Paul McGregor made a number of changes to the side he inherited that had the potential to prove master-strokes in his first week in the top job, but he was given little to smile about in the 29-10 loss at ANZ Stadium.

It was the Dragons' seventh loss in their past eight games, which has turned their promising opening to the year into a season of despair as they attempt to avoid missing the finals for the third consecutive season.

The Josh Dugan experiment at right centre, which would have been monitored closely by Blues coach Laurie Daley, didn't have the desired effect.

The Rabbitohs scored all three of their first half tries down his side of the field - not all his fault - but it hardly provided the Blues coach with the answer for the selection conundrum he faces given a knee injury to Josh Morris in game one.

Dugan finished the game with 10 runs, 79 metres, four tackle breaks, two errors and two missed tackles - one of which led to a Sam Burgess try in the first half.

The answer might have come in the form of the centre in the opposition team, with Dylan Walker producing a five star performance that might just see the teenager bolt into Origin contention.

While Benji Marshall could be forgiven for a lacklustre showing in his first hit out for the Dragons against Parramatta a fortnight ago, there was little improvement in another less-than-impressive outing.

Marshall's kicking game was hot and cold throughout the night, while his attack lacked the fluency needed to exploit the South Sydney defensive line.

In front of disappointing crowd of 11,771 at ANZ Stadium, the Rabbitohs produced a typically strong performance to jump from 11th before the start of the match to fourth on 14 points.

The night began in controversy when George Burgess was denied a try by the video referees after Shane Hayne sent it upstairs as a try.

However the video referees somehow ruled that Burgess lost control of the ball short of the line, despite replays showing there was insufficient evidence to overturn the original ruling.

It angered skipper John Sutton, who approached the referee and said: "You were right in front of it".

But the Rabbitohs didn't have to wait long for their first points of the night, with a cut-out pass from Inglis putting Joel Reddy away down the touch line for a 6-0 lead after 22 minutes.

The Dragons had a try of their own disallowed when the video referees correctly overturned the on-field decision  when Peter Mata'Utia grounded a Gareth Widdop grubber dead in goal.

The Rabbithohs' next try also came in controversial fashion when Sam Burgess was awarded a try by the men upstairs despite replays indicating the ball might have came loose as he slid across the turf.

Inglis was again the provider for South Sydney's third try of the first half, playing a hand in Reddy's second try of the night to give the home side an 18-0 lead after 33 minutes.

The Dragons kept their hopes of a come-from-behind win alive just before half time, with a Marshall bomb forcing a mistake from South Sydney that led to a Gerard Beale try from the ensuing set for St George Illawarra.

But two quick tries to South Sydney's Adam Reynolds and Dylan Walker mid-way through the second half erased any hope of an unlikely comeback from the men in red and white.

Tyson Frizell scored the Dragons' second try of the night with the game in the bag for South Sydney, before Reynolds put the icing on the cake with a field goal to seal the 19 point win.

This story Dragons fall short against Rabbitohs first appeared on WA Today.