A Ben Hunt-inspired St George Illawarra have silenced their early-season critics by romping home over a hapless Canterbury 40-4 to claim their third straight victory.
Hunt was the chief engineer of a sharp Dragons attack that ran in seven tries to one to surge into the top eight for the first time this season.
The Dragons No.7 was involved in six of the seven tries, including two for himself in what coach Paul McGregor described as Hunt's best outing of the year.
"Benny's a person that's really enjoying his footy right now," McGregor said.
"When someone with that talent enjoys their footy, they're exciting to watch. He was that today; he wanted to be around the ball.
"And defensively he wanted to get off his line and bang. Look, he's had a good game. He's had a couple of good games this year, but that was his best."
The only downside was a second-half ankle injury to Paul Vaughan.
The impressive rout goes a long way to restoring the faith of a fanbase that watched their side lose their opening two games by double digit margins.
Then they feared the worst when skipper Gareth Widdop went down with another shoulder injury in round three that has scratched him for most of the season.
But in a silver lining to his absence, McGregor has been allowed to finally settle a spinal combination that cranked into top gear against the Bulldogs.
His side hasn't lost since Widdop's injury, beginning with consecutive one-point wins before putting on a show for the 13,409 crowd at Kogarah.
Hunt had the revamped attack humming from the kickoff, beginning with a 15th-minute try assist for Euan Aitken to score the opener.
Then with the Bulldogs surging into their 20-metre zone, Hunt stripped Rhyse Martin one-on-one before racing 70 metres upfield.
Tim Lafai made it a two-try lead moments later, however Hunt wasn't done.
Continuing to play on the front foot, the Kangaroos representative produced a cutout for Mikaele Ravalawa to make it a commanding 18-0 lead at halftime.
The avalanche continued after the break, with Ravalawa crossing in the 59th minute and Hunt accepted gifts for the final two tries.
It was a sorry performance from a Bulldogs side whose 24 missed tackles tripled that of the Dragons' eight.
"It's obviously a real learning curve. You can't make errors and continue to make errors," Bulldogs coach Dean Pay said.
"We need to stop that, stop the stem of making those simple errors. But we need to make sure that we've got some resilience to defend them as well."
Australian Associated Press