Dragons beat Brisbane in NRL points spree

·3-min read

Jack de Belin took 26 minutes to show St George Illawarra precisely what they've been missing for 992 days in the Dragons' 52-24 flogging of Brisbane.

But it could be the seven tries Matt Dufty had a hand in that lingers longer in the Saints' minds, as a reminder of what they're letting go next year.

Two-and-a-half years and two hung juries after his last NRL game, de Belin cried as he was cheered from the field in his following his return at Kogarah on Thursday night.

But one reserve grade game and a week after sexual assault charges against him were withdrawn, it didn't start pretty for the former NSW State of Origin lock.

After two minutes on the field, de Belin rushed up out of the line and made a bad miss on the stepping Albert Kelly in the lead-up to a Teurui Robati try.

But with Robati sin-binned in the second half for a high shot, de Belin was back to his best in attack.

One of the most robust ball-playing locks in the competition, he twice took the ball to the line and passed to create space for Dufty to put tryscoreres over untouched.

"He's a classy player. That's what they do," coach Anthony Griffin said.

"They make people around them better. The fact he can come in and do that is going to help our team.

"You saw there tonight he hasn't lost that ability. They never lose their class and their ability.

"We just need to keep him fit and keep building his minutes there."

Dufty made a bigger statement as the Dragons posted 50 points for the first time since March 2018.

A week after being told by the Dragons he wouldn't be kept on as fullback for 2022, Dufty set up five tries and scored two of his own in the best game of his career.

He created their first when he dummied and stepped past Tyson Gamble with ease and put Jack Bird over from 40 metres out.

With the Dragons down 18-12, Dufty brought them level when he put Gerard Beale through a hole with a cut-out ball, before chasing through for a crucial try on the break to claim the lead.

Dufty's brilliance was equalled by Jamayne Isaako's horrors, when the Broncos fullback inexplicably failed to dive on a set-play kick from a scrum on the siren.

Isaako finished the night hooked by the Broncos, with Kevin Walters admitting his exit in the 65th minute was not injury related.

"It wasn't just Jamayne, but he had a rough night at the office," coach Kevin Walters said.

"I just thought he was better off having a spell. Better for him and the side."

And despite chief executive Dave Danghy claiming on Thursday afternoon they wouldn't buy a fullback for 2022, Dufty must be a tempting option.

Dufty was twice the beneficiary of some de Belin class after the break, with the first coming when he hit the man set to replace him in the No.1 jersey, Cody Ramsey, on the chest with a clever pass.

But his last pass was arguably his best, a long, looping cut-out for Mikaele Ravalawa to force his way over just inside the corner post before claiming his second try on fulltime.

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