ST GEORGE Illawarra have made a much-needed return to the winners' circle, with the return of Corey Norman inspiring a 36-12 win over Canterbury on Monday.
The Dragons conceded the first try just three minutes in, but were in control from the remainder of the contest, running in three unanswered tries by halftime.
They went on with it in the second, adding three more tries to snap a five-game losing streak and put themselves back on the edge of the top eight on for and against.
Norman scored a try and had a hand in another for Jonus Pearson in the first 40 and put halves partner Ben Hunt over 14 minutes into the second, a reminder of how telling his absence has been over the last month.
Hunt made it a double act with his four-pointer and a lofted cut-out ball for his side's first try to Mikaele Ravalawa, five days after churning out 80 minutes in the No. 9 for Queensland.
"I prepared very well and a lot of things just fell into place today," Norman said post-match.
"I tried to take a little bit of pressure off Benny. It's been five days [since Origin] and he had a helluva game at hooker [did] plenty of defence.
"We just like playing football, we're eyes-up footballers. We don't stick to one edge we like to roam and I thought we were good today.
"We were on each others' side a lot and just played eyes up football. I thought all the Origin boys that stepped up today and brought a lot today and showed a lot of leadership.
"We've had a few injuries which isn't good, Origin is going to be tough as well, but if we can put out best foot forward and get through this period well, we'll get James Graham and Lafai back.
"We've just got to really knuckle down and get some wins."
It came after a rough start, with Tariq Sims spilling the ball in the opening set, allowing Raymond Faitala-Mariner to barge across next to the posts a set later. Nick Meaney converted for a 6-0 lead after just three minutes.
The Dragons hit back quickly when Ravalawa crossed off a lofted ball from Hunt, with Zac Lomax adding the extras to lock the scores 10 minutes in.
The went ahead when Norman put Ravalawa away and backed up on the inside to score under the posts and take a 12-6 lead.
The lead went out to 12 when Jonus Pearson crossed out wide, again off quality lead-up work from Norman, Lomax's conversion giving the Dragons a 12-point cushion.
The Dragons dodged a bullet five minutes before the break, with Meaney crossing on the back of a block play that was ultimately deemed illegal by the bunker.
It was the Dogs last chance at making a match of it, with Hunt's try 13 minutes after the resumption effectively putting the result to bed.
Zac Lomax grabbed a try seven minutes later off a rare grubber from a runaway Jacob Host, taking his personal tally to 14 for the match.
Keiran Foran scored a consolation try nine minutes from time but most Dogs fans had already headed for the exits.
Ravalawa provided a spectacular finish for his second try six minutes from time, with Lomax completing a faultless afternoon off the tee in the 24-point victory.
After a six-week run of outs, coach Paul McGregor said it was a step in the right direction.
"It wasn't a complete performance but it was an improvement on what we've done in the last month," McGregor said.
"I thought the timing of the [bye] helped to reset and press on. Sometimes when you're at the coalface you over-think a little bit.
"When you get away you have a good time to reflect and we'd just got away from what was working really well for us in the past. We got back to it a little bit today."