St George Illawarra have beaten Manly 24-6 in their National Rugby League clash in Wollongong, but the win came at a cost with 3 New South Wales players limping from the field.
Blues coach Ricky Stuart's worst nightmare became reality with five-eighth Jamie Soward and backrowers Ben Creagh and Glenn Stewart joining a growing list of injured players ahead of next week's Origin decider.
Centre Kyle Stanley bagged a double in a bruising affair that resulted in two players being placed on report and another, Jason King, likely to be scrutinised over the use of his knee after Stanley had scored his second.
Old enemies Mark Gasnier and Steve Matai almost came to blows twice within minutes after Matai was placed on report for a swinging arm on Dragons winger Jason Nightingale.
Earlier Dragons stand-in captain Nathan Fien was also placed on report for a high shot that left manly fullback Brett Stewart dazed.
The Dragons led 12-nil at the break and are second on the table, while Manly are third.