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Dugan injured as Souths smash Saints

St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan suffered a knee injury, two weeks out from the start of the NRL season, as Dragons fell to a 38-20 Charity Shield rugby league thumping by a John Sutton- inspired South Sydney at WIN Stadium.
Dugan injured as Souths smash Saints
by AAP

By Adrian Warren

WOLLONGONG, Feb 22 AAP - St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan suffered a knee injury, two weeks out from the start of the NRL season, as Dragons fell to a 38-20 Charity Shield rugby league thumping by a John Sutton- inspired South Sydney at WIN Stadium.

Dugan came off after giant Souths forward George Burgess fell on his knee in scoring the Rabbitohs' seventh and final try of Saturday's game, just before the hour.

It's believed he suffered a medial ligament injury and is expected to have a scan to determine the extent of the damage.

There was also a scare for opposing fullback Greg Inglis, who came off two minutes into the second half following a head clash with Dragons' forward Dan Hunt.

A team official spent several minutes checking a groggy looking Inglis on the sideline, but it's not believed to be a serious knock, while five-eighth Dylan Walker appeared to have aggravated a hamstring niggle.

Sutton, who had been earmarked to play at lock this season, stepped into halfback due to injuries to Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds.

He tore the Dragons apart with a sublime display of playmaking and was heavily involved in several tries.

The Rabbitohs led 12-0 after 12 minutes and piled on 26 unanswered points either side of the break to lead 38-4.

The Dragons reduced the margin and salvaged a sliver of respectability with the last three tries, two of them to Peter Mata'utia and one to Adam Quinlan.

Souths took just 12 minutes to stamp their authority on the game, despite starting on the back foot.

The Dragons had the first three sets and forwards Leeson Ah Mau and Trent Merrin both went close to crossing the Rabbitohs line.

Having defended stoutly at the start, Souths then showed their attacking class with two tries in four minutes.

A cross-field kick by Sam Burgess was caught and flicked back by winger Nathan Merritt to centre Beau Champion, who crossed for the first try.

Slick handling from hooker Issac Luke, Sutton and Walker set up a slick try to centre Bryson Goodwin, whose second conversion made it 12-0.

The Dragons' woes were compounded when star winger Brett Morris dropped a pass from five-eighth Gareth Widdop a few metres out with the line open.

Former Rabbitohs centre Dylan Farrell set up a 20th minute try to winger Jason Nightingale, but that was one of the few first half highlights for the Dragons.

The remainder of the half belonged to the Rabbitohs, with veteran winger Lote Tuqiri rounding off some more good passing from Sutton, Walker and Inglis.

Sutton's classy pass set up a try to another recruit, former Canberra forward Joe Picker, with Goodwin landing his third conversion from four attempts to set up a 22-4 halftime lead.

The Rabbitohs crossed three more time after the break before the Dragons' late revival.


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