The St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team were 32-18 winners over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored six tries in the victory with second-rower Wes Lolo bagging a double in the local derby.
Co-Head Coaches Ben Hornby and Dean Young made several changes to the line-up announced midweek with winger Rowland Kotobalavu replacing Isaac Thompson on the flank.
Additionally, second-rower Jack Bird shifted to the centre to replace Brent Anderson with Vincent Stowers elevated from the interchange to fill the positional void made.
Dragons prop Luciano Leilua was a late inclusion on the bench and joined hooker Hayden McCrae who rotated the starting spot with Thomas Freebairn.
The Dragons were narrow 32-28 winners over the visitors when the two outfits last clashed earlier this season and attacked from the get-go in their attempts to replicate that result.
The hosts’ efforts paid off in the ninth minute through the barrelling run of second-rower Wes Lolo who crashed over for the first points of the game.
Dragons halfback Sam Clune converted to make it 6-0.
The visitors however struck back with two tries commencing midway through the period.
Sharks fullback Dallas Wells scored first after managing to plant halfback Connor Tracey’s well placed bomb in the 20th minute
This was followed-up eight minutes later by winger Joshua Addo-Carr down the right flank.
Sharks winger Jaymayne Isaako converted one of his two opportunities.
Yet the home side equalised six minutes from time through centre Brent Anderson who weaved his way past his marker to cross the stripe.
Clune converted to make it 12-10.
The Dragons were the quickest to strike when second-half play commenced with prop Addin Fonua-Blake getting his name on the scoresheet four minutes in.
However, the visitors replied four minutes late through centre Anthony Moraitis.
From thereon in though it was one way traffic with the Dragons crossing the white stripe a further three times during the stanza.
Dragons winger Sitiveni Moceidreke notched a four-pointer in the 52nd minute to extend his team’s points-advantage out to 20-14.
This was followed-up by five-eighth Drew Hutchison’s efforts on the cusp of the hour mark to lengthen the lead out to 24-14.
Dragons hooker Haydne McCrae converted to make it 26-14.
Lolo bagged his second of the encounter with a replica manoeuvre to his first-half efforts to make it 30-14.
McCrae converted once more to make it 32-14.
The Sharks though scored a consolatory try courtesy of Isaako two minutes from time to make it 32-18.
St George Illawarra Dragons 32 defeated the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18.
St George Illawarra Dragons 32. Tries: Lolo (2), Anderson, Fonua-Blake, Moceidreke, Hutchison. Goals: Clune (2/3), McCrae (2/2).
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18. Tries: Wells, Moraitis, Addo-Carr, Issako. Goals: Issako (1/4).