Benji Marshall has helped steer the Dragons to a 34-6 mauling of a disappointing Titans at Kogarah.
Captain Ben Creagh believes St George are finally earning some respect in the NRL after their 34-6 thumping of the Gold Coast on Sunday.
In the Dragons’ first game since former caretaker coach Paul McGregor was signed to a three-year deal the home side hammered a hapless Titans who couldn’t hold onto the ball and were never really in the contest.
Before 9,584 fans in perfect conditions at Kogarah the joint venture raced to a 16-0 lead after 20 minutes through tries to Benji Marshall, Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale.
With Marshall enjoying his improving form, the Dragons then piled on three tries in 12 minutes midway through the second half to Josh Dugan, Gerard Beale and Josh Thompson to put the game to bed.
Labelled as soft by former coach Steve Price earlier in the year, Creagh said the Dragons were beginning to show some real backbone at the back end of the season.
“We did cop a lot of flack early on in the season, but a lot of it was warranted, because we were playing pretty soft at times and we were not playing the tough footy that a forward pack should play,” Creagh said.
“But the last 12 weeks I have think we have consistently played some tough footy especially with our defence and we have backed up our attack week-to-week which is what you want.
“That was our most mature performance of the year.”
McGregor praised the continued evolution of Marshall.
“The composure that Benji is starting to play with, he is only going to get better and better,” he said.
The win keeps the Dragons’ finals hopes alive; they sit a win behind eighth-placed Parramatta.
But Marshall and Josh Dugan are in doubt for Friday night’s round 25 match against Brisbane with ankle injuries.
The injury-hit Titans were not helped by the late withdrawals of Luke Douglas (doping ban) and Nate Myles (biceps), but their inability to hang onto the ball also worked against them.
Interim coach Neil Henry was scathing of their effort.
“It was a pretty poor performance from us,” he said.
“That wasn’t a first grade performance.
“We started the game lacking intensity.
“We were really off the pace.”
Captain Greg Bird was just as critical.
“The end of the season can’t come soon enough if that is how we are going to play,” he said.
The Titans travel to play the Warriors in Auckland on Sunday.