The St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team drew 28-all against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored five tries in a very difficult final pre-season fixture ahead of the new Under 20’s competition commencing in a fortnight’s time.
It was a very physical encounter when play commenced with both teams sizing up their opposite numbers in the early periods of the first stanza.
However, it was the visitors who notched the first points of the encounter with halfback Paora Kemp etching his name on the scoresheet in the tenth minute.
Kemp converted his own try to make it 6-0.
However, the lead was only short lived with the hosts soon rallying to inflict three unanswered converted tries much to the fanfare of the home supporters.
Despite this, Dragons centre Izaac Thompson took matters into his own hands with a sizzling individual try two minutes from halftime to claw the deficit back to eight.
Kemp converted to make it 18-12.
The Dragons were forced to absorb some early pressure when second-half play resumed but were able to force a turnaround due to some ill-discipline by the home side’s forward pack.
Momentum was now with the visitors and a brilliant kick by Dragons five-eighth Sam Clune found teammate Tom Carr who crossed the stripe in the 45th minute.
Kemp converted again to make it 18-all.
Unfortunately, Clune was forced to leave the field shortly thereafter after being felled whilst kicking the ball.
This was coupled by the Rabbitohs intercepting a well-constructed try-attempt by the visitors to reclaim the lead just shy of the hourmark.
Several mistakes began to creep into both team’s games before Dragons centre Lachlan Stein snuck across the stripe to equal proceedings once again.
Yet the visitors took the lead for a third time through a converted try with ten minutes remaining to make it 28-22.
But with mere minutes remaining, the visitors were able to force a turnover deep within their own half and mount a last ditch attack forward.
In their final set with the ball Dragons lock Thomas Freebairn was able to burst free of his markers to slide between the posts.
Dragons replacement halfback Rhys Davies converted to level scores at 28-all.
St George Illawarra Dragons: 28. Tries: Kemp, Thompson, Carr, Stein, Freebairn. Goals: Kemp (3/3), Davies (1/2).
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 28. Tries: Olive (2), Booth, Ellison, Whitelaw. Goals: Hedges (4/5).