St George Illawarra's NRL premiership ambitions are in tatters after captain Gareth Widdop suffered a shoulder injury in a shock 40-4 mauling by lowly Parramatta.
Eels veteran Jarryd Hayne torched the Dragons with his first hat-trick in five years, while Mitchell Moses also starred with a try and four try-assists.
The Dragons' fifth defeat in six games mean they drop out of the top four for the first time this year and could finish as low as sixth at the end of the round.
The win for the Eels - their biggest of the season - lifts them off the bottom of the ladder for the first time since March and leaves North Queensland in last place.
Having led the league for most of the year, the Dragons produced arguably their worst effort of 2018 against the side that occupied last spot for most of the season.
The meek showing in front of a 10,541 fans should ring alarm bells for coach Paul McGregor.
Of most pressing concern will be Widdop, who dislocated his shoulder midway through the first half when he awkwardly grounded a Moses grubber-kick in-goal.
Dragons' staff were able to pop his shoulder back in but Widdop failed to return.
The signs were ugly from the outset for the visitors, who gave away the first six penalties and could only watch Moses set up the game's opening two tries for Hayne.
His looping 25m pass for Hayne's first try was easily the highlight of the match.
Cameron McInnes' 26th-minute sin-binning for repeated infringements kick-started a 12-minute blitz that included Widdop's injury, and George Jennings crossing on a first-tackle play.
Hayne completed his hat-trick when the Dragons inexplicably allowed an Eels bomb to bounce just before the break to give his team a resounding 22-0 halftime lead.
A Luciano Leilua try early after the break gave the Dragons a sniff, but the Eels closed out any hope of a comeback with tries to Clint Gutherson, Moses and Siosaia Vave.
Moses came up with an electric 40m run to score, adding to his six goals from seven attempts to finish the night with a 16-point haul.
McGregor admitted performances don't come worse than what they dished up on Saturday.
"That scoreline is very ugly," he said.
"To start the game, seven zero penalty count, compounded by errors, compounded by some soft tries ... we've got ot make sure we do something about our discipline if it's on us, yes."
In contrast, Eels coach Brad Arthur labelled their effort their best of the season.
"That's the first time all year we've put in a full 80 minutes," he said.
"We've had some really good efforts for periods of games, but that's the first time we've been able to come out in the second half ... we showed some resilience."