Their finals hopes are long gone, but St George Illawarra are likely to be forced into rotating their squad after two injuries to key personnel in the big win over the Gold Coast.
Dragons hooker Andrew McCullough’s season is in doubt after he left the field in the first half in Wollongong, with reports from Fox Sports confirming the veteran dummy-half sustained a medial ligament injury in the game’s early stages. He played just 12 minutes.
It's not the first time he's suffered an injury of that nature, with an MCL injury in 2019 keeping him out for a number of weeks.
While an official diagnosis is still some way off, a grade one MCL injury has an average recovery time of 1-3 weeks, meaning the 32-year-old is unlikely to the field again this year.
McCullough joined the club following the departures of Cameron McInnes and Reece Robson from the Red V ranks and has played 40 games so far. His role was filled exceptionally by Jayden Sullivan, who came from the bench for an extended stint he wouldn't have anticipated, but ended with a try.
Though he is eligible to enter the free agent market from November 1, McCullough has had to address rumours he was considering retirement or was being urged to do so by the club as they look to clear salary cap space in their pursuit of Ben Hunt, claiming he wants to fulfil his contract.
“I haven’t felt any pressure,” McCullough told the Illawarra Mercury.
“There’s a lot of outside noise but I don’t care anymore.”
Adding to the club’s troubles, Moses Mbye also left the field in the first half with a hamstring injury after 19 and did not return. Despite the early double-blow and the sending off of interchange prop Francis Molo, the Dragons cruised in the second half to a 46-26 victory.
Surprisingly, the Red V surged ahead after Molo was sent from the field, scoring three unanswered tries as the Titans capitulated.