The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 20-18 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Saturday.
The Young Dragons fought back from an early 14-nil score line, but conceded a converted try in the final minute of their nail-biting first trial of the 2015 season.
Head Coach Ben Hornby named two separate sides to tackle the Rabbitohs, each sharing 40 minutes of the action.
Only one change was made to the sides announced midweek with Zac Young being added to the interchange bench.
The Rabbitohs opened the scoring with a try to centre Haimona Hiroti in the fifth minute.
The home side furthered their lead ten minutes later with winger Josh Ellison finding the line, making it 8-nil.
Rabbitohs lock Tulsa Saumamao closed out the first quarter with a barging four-pointer, and hooker Aaron Booth converted to make it 14-nil.
The Dragons started the second quarter strong with a try to late inclusion Young.
Despite an early charge, it was not until the end of the quarter that the Dragons were able to score again.
Interchange back-rower Jack Kavanagh burrowed his way across the try-line, and playmaker Paora Kemp converted to make the scoreboard 14-10 going into halftime.
Dragons winger William Tom evened the score in the 43rd minute, after he capitalised on centre Izaac Thompson’s 20 metre linebreak, making it 14-all.
The Red and Whites were able to nudge ahead on the scoreboard with a racing try to winger Danile Stojanovski, bringing the score to 18-14.
But it was the Rabbitohs who had the last say in the game, with winger Damon Goolagong crossing the line in the 79th minute. Five-eighth Jordie Hedges converted to make the final score 20-18.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18. Tries: Young, Kavanagh, Tom, Stojanovski. Goals: Kemp (1/2), Attallah (0/2).
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20. Tries: Hiroti, Ellison, Samamao, Goolagong. Goals: Aaron Booth (1/3), Jordie Hedges (1/1).