Smith stars with hat-trick in Bulldogs' rout of Dragons
Reimis Smith scored a hat-trick in a scintillating performance that dented St George Illawarra Dragons' top-four hopes as Canterbury Bulldogs routed their rivals 38-0.
The Dragons had seen Cronulla Sharks move above them into fourth in the ladder prior to kick-off and they will enter the last round of fixtures as one of seven teams hoping to finish in the three available top-four berths for the NRL Finals.
Only leaders Melbourne Storm have cemented a top-four spot and therefore a second chance in the play-offs, and the Dragons now need to win against Newcastle Knights and hope results elsewhere go their way after being thrashed by the Smith-inspired Bulldogs.
Josh Morris' try was followed by Smtih's trio of scores, two of which showcased his blistering speed as he broke from inside his own half on each occasion, before Brett Morris and Ofahiki Ogden also touched down prior to a full-time whistle that was greeted by boos from the Dragons fans.
The Dragons now sit sixth and the fourth spot they previously occupied is held by the Sharks after they beat the Knights 38-12 in a victory that featured Valentine Holmes' club-record 20th try of the season.
Holmes, who also added four conversions and two penalties with the boot, scored one of the Sharks' six tries, with Edrick Lee going over twice.
Coach Shane Flanagan had extra cause for celebration because his side featured son Kyle Flanagan, as the duo became the first father-son coach-player combination in the NRL since 2004.