HE'S enjoyed flying under the radar so far this season and St George Illawarra marquee man Ben Hunt might want to enjoy it while it lasts, which won't be very long if his performance against Canterbury on Sunday is anything to go by.
Having been largely, and happily, overshadowed by halves partner Corey Norman over the opening four rounds, Hunt had a hand in four tries and grabbed two himself in a commanding 40-4 victory.
He put Euan Aitken over for the opening try with a deft short-ball 14 minutes into the contest and produced a clever one-one-strip on Dogs back-rower Rhyse Martin, opening the door for Tim Lafai's four-pointer 11 minutes before halftime.
He twisted the knife further with a lofted pass allowing Mikaele Ravalawa to cross out wide five minutes later to take an 18-0 lead into the break.
He got across himself midway through the second half, swooping on an errant pass from Kerrod Holland to cross untouched and was also Johnny on the spot when Jayden Okunbor spilled a bomb from Norman, throwing the final pass for Zac Lomax's first NRL try.
Just when he looked done for the night, the 29-year-old was the beneficiary of some fancy footwork and deft flick pass from Norman to cross for his double moments before the final siren.
It followed Jordan Pereira's 58th minute four-pointer and saw the Dragons move into the black in the win-loss column for the first time this season.
It saw the Dragons climb into the top eight for the first time in 2019 and drove home the value of consecutive one-point wins over Brisbane and Newcastle heading into the clash.
Having had to grind their way to tough road wins Hunt said it felt good to break the shackles at home.
"I felt like I played pretty well but the whole team did today, it all sort of clicked for us," Hunt said.
"During the week and today I felt really good. I was pretty confident coming into it and just felt comfortable about where we were and what sort of footy we wanted to play.
"I was lucky enough to put it together. It was definitely our best game as a team. Our first two games were losses and we had two field-goal wins.
"To put a team away like that that competed really hard against Melbourne last week was really good."
It was performance Paul McGregor was quick to describe as his halfback's best this season.
"He's had a couple of good games this year but that was his best," McGregor said.
"Benny's a person that's really enjoying his footy at the moment and when a person with that sort of talent enjoys their footy they're exciting to watch.
"He was that today. He wanted to be around the ball, defensively he wanted to get up off the line and bang and he had a good game."
A minor ankle sprain to star prop Paul Vaughan, who was again outstanding, was the only headache for coach Paul McGregor out of the contest.
The incumbent Blues prop limped from the field 13 minutes into the second half and did not return though McGregor isn't expecting to be without him for Saturday's clash with the Sea Eagles in Wollongong.
"He's walking around, he's not limping around and that's a positive sign," McGregor said.
"There is a minor issue with his ankle but the game situation determined that we didn't need to put him back out there.
"Is he in doubt for next week, I don't think so but I'm not sure. We'll see what happens there."
The win also banished some demons for the Dragons, who were infamously booed from the park by their own fans after suffering a 38-0 defeat to the Bulldogs at the same venue last season.
The red v faithful rose as one again on Sunday, this time in appreciation off the effort that will see their side take a strong momentum into Saturday's home clash with Manly in Wollongong.
Having shown some promising signs in recent weeks, it'll be back to the drawing board for coach Dean Pay and the Dogs, who never looked in the match.