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Dragons defy critics to make NRL top four

·2-min read

Anthony Griffin never listened to St George Illawarra's critics before the season, so it was never going to be his style to pay attention to the praise now.

But after five rounds of a largely predictable opening to the NRL season, the Dragons have earned their accolades as the only team to truly shift opinions.

Wooden spoon favourites before a ball was kicked, St George Illawarra are now back in the top four for the first time since they were front-runners in 2018.

And on Sunday night they made their first real statement, downing Parramatta 26-10 in a game they dominated from the outset.

Most thought that Griffin's arrival at Wollongong would signify a long rebuild, after a miserable two seasons at the Red V.

But they have suddenly won four games straight, with their only loss coming when they were their own worst enemies against Cronulla in round one.

"It's five rounds," Griffin said.

"I don't care where we are or where we should be or who thought where we should be.

"We've done a really good job over the last four or five weeks to earn some points.

"It is what it is. I've got no predictions for you."

The Dragons' run is even more remarkable because of who they are missing.

Captain and halfback Ben Hunt was sidelined for the past two wins over Newcastle and Parramatta, and still isn't due back until round xx after playing with a broken leg.

Adam Clune has done his job to straighten the attack while filling in at halfback, while Matt Dufty had one of the best games of his career on Sunday night.

Defensively, the Dragons have also improved out of sight, letting in just 12 points per game during their month-long winning streak.

"I can feel in our dressing shed that the players are getting what they deserve," Griffin said.

"They are working really hard and are getting some results.

"It was a really good effort tonight, we beat a really good side on their home ground. And we forced a lot of errors out of them.

"But we have a team that is wanting to win football games."