The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 18-16 by the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Monday.
The Young Dragons scored three tries in the narrow loss courtesy of Leigh Higgins, Adam Clune and Jack Bird but it was not enough for the two competition points.
Co-Head Coaches Ben Hornby and Dean Young made only the one change to their side’s line-up with prop Jacob Host called onto the bench in lieu of Jack Kavanagh.
The home side showed no signs of rusty legs having had the previous week off and were the quickest off the mark when play commenced.
The Young Dragons claimed the early four-point lead through winger Leigh Higgins who danced his way through several defenders to find the line.
The lead did not last long as the visitors clawed in front with a fashionable try to halfback Riley Travers in the 22nd minute.
Sea Eagles centre Luke Garner converted to make the score 6-4.
But their lead was short lived, as Dragons prop Jack Bird collected a slick inside ball to put his side in front.
Dragons five-eighth Shannon Crook converted to make the score 10-6.
The visitors responded minutes before halftime with a breakaway try to fullback Charlie Taylor.
Garner converted, and the visitors went into the change rooms ahead 12-10.
The two sides proved evenly matched during the second half, as it took 28 minutes of grinding football before the score changed.
It was the Red V who again edged ahead, as captain halfback Adam Clune beat two defenders to score under the posts.
Crook converted to make the score 16-12.
The Sea Eagles however hit back with a try to prop Jamil Hopoate three minutes from time to even up affairs.
Garner converted to make it 18-16.
St George Illawarra Dragons: 16. Tries: Higgins, Bird, Clune. Goals: Crook (2/3).
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles: 18. Tries: Travers, Taylor, Hopoate. Goals: Garner (3/3).