Wests Tigers’ heavy round-one NRL loss to St George Illawarra hasn’t made live easier for coach Mick Potter.

Wests Tigers’ round-one NRL capitulation has heaped pressure on coach Mick Potter to turn around the struggling joint venture and save his job.

Potter was reportedly close to copping the axe last year in his first season with the Tigers when they slipped further and further into the mire after a solid start to finish second-last with just seven wins.

The former Dragons fullback was given a reprieve but was desperate to start the new season well.

But those hopes were dashed by a rampaging St George Illawarra, who thumped them 44-24.

The Tigers started well to lead 12-0 after 11 minutes and 18-6 after 20 minutes but after that it was all St George Illawarra.

“We were right in the game, some of our last-play options were poor and they rolled us down the field,” Potter said.

“It was disappointing.

“I probably think we were looking okay until halftime.

“But structurally we just ran out of gas.

“The other team were very good today.”

Halves recruit Gareth Widdop had a hand in four of the Dragons’ seven tries and kicked eight from eight to spearhead the win and ease pressure on their coach Steve Price after their heavy pre-season defeat to South Sydney and forgettable previous two season under him.

Young halfback Luke Brooks was successfully targeted in defence by the Dragons.

Captain Robbie Farah was scathing of the Tigers’ effort.

“We lost control of the game. I thought we started well, but I’m not sure what it was.

“We got ourselves back in it in the second half.

“I’m filthy I put in a bad kick. They scored and scored again and the game was gone.”

While ex-Melbourne pivot Widdop’s performance was a boon for the Dragons, Ben Hampton’s effort at five-eighth in the Storm’s 23-22 win over Manly at Brookvale showed he is a ready made replacement.

The Roosters will decide on Monday whether Sonny Bill Williams will fight a potential four-match shoulder charge ban stemming from their 28-8 loss to South Sydney in the season opener.

Ben Barba started his Brisbane career with an 18-12 win over his old club Canterbury.

An new-look Penrith defeated an injury-hit Newcastle 30-8 with North Queensland beating Canberra 28-22.

In the late match on Sunday night, Parramatta wingers Semi Radradra and Vai Toutai lit up Pirtek Stadium with tryscoring hat-tricks in the Eels’ 36-16 win over the Warriors.

Cronulla and Gold Coast complete round one in the Monday night fixture at Remondis Stadium.