The St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team were defeated 50-26 Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday.
The Young Dragons notched five tries in the loss including a double to centre Izaac Thompson.
Head Coach Ben Hornby opted to standby the line-up announced midweek but found themselves trailing early in the opening sets.
The homeside claimed the first four-pointer of the encounter when Tigers halfback Eli Levido’s grubber pinpointed open five-eighth Te Maire Martin, who easily scored between the posts.
Levido soon converted to make it 6-0.
However, the visitors clawed the early deficit back to two points when halfback Adam Clune’s cut-out pass found centre Izaac Thompson open out wide on the left edge.
Yet, the hosts reasserted their home field advantage with a second try in the tenth minute courtesy of Levido.
The halfback converted his own try to make it 12-4.
The Tigers continued to capitalise off their momentum and struck again four minutes later through fullback Mason Cerruto.
This was followed by second-rower Mark McCormack’s charge and barge over the stripe for the home side in the 18th minute.
Levido converted to make to 22-4.
Despite the initial barrage of tries, the visiting team managed to buck the trend through prop Jacob Host’s storming of the stripe in the 22nd minute.
Dragons five-eighth Paora Kemp converted to make it 22-10.
The Tigers replied two minutes later through centre Watson Heleta, whose blistering speed overcame the visiting defence.
Levido converted to make it 28-10.
The Dragons however notched their third try through second-rower Luciano Leilua nine minutes from the halftime stanza to make it 28-14.
Kemp converted to make it 28-16.
Yet the visitors managed one final try prior to the halftime whistle through winger Te Kapua Murray.
Levido converted to make it 34-16.
The Tigers were quickest off the mark when second-half play resumed with Cerruto running the length of the field to score in the 43rd minute.
Levido converted to make it 40-16.
The hosts followed this up with Martins bagging his own double of the evening much to the fanfare of the home crowd.
The Dragons continued to press forward in search of points and managed to peg-back the deficit through Clune’s efforts in the 67th minute.
This was followed-up by a further consolation try to Thompson who made it 44-24 with nine minutes remaining.
Kemp converted to make it 44-26.
Yet, the Tigers had the final say with a final try to hooker Jacob Liddle just shy of the siren.
Levido converted to make it 50-26.
St George Illawarra Dragons 26. Tries: Thompson (2), Host, Leilua, Clune. Goals: Kemp (3/5).
Wests Tigers 50. Tries: Martin (2), Levido, Cerruto (2), McCormack, Heleta, Murray, Liddle. Goals: Levido (7/9).