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Dufty makes statement in Dragons' big win

Matt Dufty put on a show to help St George Illawarra shock Parramatta 26-12 at Bankwest Stadium, ending the Eels' unbeaten start to the NRL season.

Still off-contract and wanting to stay at the Dragons, fullback Dufty scored two tries and set up the Saints' other two in one of the best performances of his career on Sunday night.

The Dragons' edges were also superb in defence as they regularly shut down the Eels, while their attack was nice and direct with Adam Clune in the No.7 jersey.

Favourites for the wooden spoon before the season began, the Dragons are now surprise members of the top four after a 4-1 start to the season.

And the Eels are easily their biggest scalp so far, after the Red V skipped out to an 18-0 half-time lead on the back of their fullback.

Dufty has long maintained he can be one of the NRL's best fullbacks, but consistency has been his problem.

On Sunday night he was electric.

The face-ball for the Dragons' first points was perfectly timed, putting Jack Bird into a gap for the centre's first try since April 2019.

The No.1's passing game was once seen as his weakness, but has improved dramatically in the past 18 months.

His other assist again came through the hands with a lofted two-man cut-out ball for winger Mikaele Ravalawa to score.

Dufty's own four-pointers were a little more contentious, with his first in the form of a penalty try after Nathan Brown took him out while chasing his own kick.

After a nice inside ball from Clune, Dufty broke free and grubbered for himself before the bunker ruled he would have been the first to the ball.

His second also came after handy lead-up work from Clune, with the hint of a forward pass back inside for Dufty to go over.

But it shouldn't take away from how good the 25-year-old was.

The Eels were left to rue a frantic 10-minute period when Tariq Sims was in the sin-bin and the Dragons down to 12 men.

While Isaiah Papali'i scored almost immediately on the back of three repeat sets, they failed to make use of 61 per cent of possession for the rest of the period.

In that 10 minutes alone they coughed the ball up three times and had two poor kick options from Bryce Cartwright and Shaun Lane.

Making matters worse, the Dragons were then able to kick out to a 20-6 lead just after Sims returned when Tom Opacic gave away a penalty on the next set.

Captain Clint Gutherson collected a late consolation try for the Eels, but finished the night on report for a late hit on Clune in the lead up to Dufty's last try.