ST George Illawarra’s season is on death row.
The Dragons will now have to win their remaining two games and hope other results fall their way if they want to play finals in 2017.
This from a club that was on top of the ladder about three months ago and were being spoken of as minor premiership contenders earlier in the season.
Their descent down the ladder reached a head a fortnight ago when they finally fell out of the top eight.
A win over the embattled Titans last week kept the dream alive but a 24-12 loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday puts them in dire straits.
The Red V sit ninth on the ladder, one game behind eighth-placed North Queensland.
But a hot Raiders outfit is lurking one game behind the Dragons and threatens to leapfrog them in the final fortnight of competition.
In the Dragons’ favour is their for-and-against, which is superior to the three clubs directly above them on the ladder.
They will have to beat Penrith next week and Canterbury the one following to give themselves a shot at playing finals.
The Panthers are in hot form, but the Bulldogs should be a walkover.
For Brisbane, the victory keeps them in touch with first-placed Melbourne.
While the Broncos won’t overtake the Storm on the ladder, their form has been improving almost on a weekly basis and they will have other finals-bound clubs sweating.
The only negative for the Broncos was a hamstring injury to young forward Tevita Pangai Jr.
The Dragons had salt rubbed into the wound when young centre Euan Aitken injured his shoulder on the final play.
It was a horror start to the night for the Dragons who had already been dealt a number of blows by injury and illness pre-game.
Josh Dugan spilt a Broncos chip and his mess was cleaned up by Alex Glenn, who just had to fall on the ball to score and give the home side an early lead.
Then it was Dugan who blew the Red V’s best chance at an early try, getting the ball from Matt Dufty with the line in sight but then spilling it as he fell over the stripe.
It was a hand from Corey Oates that helped the ball loose, but a bad miss by Dugan who could have levelled the scoreboard.
But the man redeemed himself up the other end just minutes later when he produced a deft grubber for Paul Vaughan to pounce on.
The conversion handed Dragons a 6-4 lead.
It took Brisbane barely two minutes to respond, with five-eighth Anthony Milford dodging his way through the defence to score and steal the lead once more.
In the 33rd minute the Broncos extended the lead through a brilliant play by future Dragons playmaker Ben Hunt.
Hunt scooped up a loose ball and looked right then placed a perfect chip onto the chest of winger Jordan Kahu who beat his man and scored.
The home side took a 14-6 lead into the break.
They began the second half as they had ended the first, extending their lead in the 50th minute.
Josh McGuire threw a peach of a ball to hit Glenn on the charge and hand the back-rower his second try.
Brisbane put the game on ice in the 68th minute through a flying Oates, who somehow stayed in the field of play and beat two defenders to score one of his trademark freak tries in the corner.