As it was, home fly-half Ceri Sweeney was first on the scoresheet after 12 minutes with a well-struck penalty from wide out. Minutes earlier Wales flanker Dafydd Jones had replaced Gavin Thomas and once again his impact was immediate.
The last time Scarlets fans had seen Jones in action was scoring a match-winning try against Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup. Straight back into the fray and he was over the line again just eight minutes into his return.
Lock Chris Wyatt, who started his career at Newport, won a clean lineout and a powerful drive into the heart of the home eight saw Jones cross. Fly-half Mike Hercus converted, but a mistake straight from the kick-off from Jonathan Mills saw Sweeney add a second penalty.
With home spirits lifted the Dragons struck another rapid blow with flanker Rhys Oakley embarrassing the Scarlets defence with a fine solo try on 29 minutes. Sweeney's conversion made it 13-7, but a change of referees later and the Scarlets had reduced the arrears through a Hercus penalty, but going in at the interval they would have felt they deserved more.
A lone Sweeney penalty was all the Dragons had to show for their efforts in a dismal second half for the home side. A superbly worked try from skipper James set the Scarlets on their way in the 57th minute. A well-weighted pass from Mike Hercus sent Mark Jones haring through the gap and he showed great awareness and composure to hand on to James on his outside for a stroll beneath the posts.
Hercus, who missed five kicks at goal in all, landed his third penalty, then the match was sealed when replacement prop Dunlea powered over with three minutes left on the clock.
Dragons: (13) 16:
Pens: Sweeney 3
Scarlets: (10) 28:
Tries: D Jones, James, Dunlea
Cons: Hercus 2
Pens: Hercus 3