The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 26-24 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored five tries in the loss with a double to fullback Matt Dufty but it was their goal-kicking which ultimately let them down.
Head Coach Ben Hornby made several cosmetic changes to the line-up announced midweek with Topiese Taufa elevated to centre-edge in lieu of Izaac Thompson.
Dragons duo Ryan Fletcher and Ryan James were both additionally omitted from extended interchange bench.
The Young Dragons entered the fixture on the bottom of the table but their onfield performance did not reflect their standings when play commenced.
The visitors applied pressure on their hosts from the opening minutes of the encounter and commanded a quick twelve-point lead early on.
Dragons prop Jack Kavanagh was the first to cross the stripe with a charging barge-over past his opposite numbers in the fifth minute of play.
This was followed-up winger Patrick Herbert’s effort on the right wing in the eighth minute of play and fullback Matt Dufty’s actions four minutes later.
The home side however persevered and managed to breach the visiting defensive line when centre Irae Simone managed to break through with pace just shy of the halfhour mark.
This was followed-up by Rabbitohs lock Wallace Tangiiti’s four-pointer, having overcome Dufty in the process in the 39th minute.
Rabbitohs five-eighth Jordie Hedges converted to make it 12-10.
The hosts continued their momentum into the second-half when play recommenced and seized a ten-point lead in the early stages of the period.
Rabbitohs hooker Liam Coleman scored first in the 43rd minute before second-rower Aaron Booth followed-suit four minutes later.
Hedges converted both attempts to make it 22-12.
Fortunately, the Young Dragons managed to cauterize the haemorrhaging of points through halfback Adam Clune’s cut-out pass left to winger Rowland Kotobalavu.
This spurred a resurgence in the visiting team’s on-field attacking prowess and it was not long before Dufty etched his name on the score sheet once again following dash to the stripe.
Herbert converted to make it 22-all.
The visitors reclaimed the lead after being awarded a penalty which was coolly converted by Herbert in the 66th minute.
However, celebrations were short-lived when Rabbitohs winger Damon Goolagong was on the end of Hedges grubber to score in the 68th minute.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24. Tries: Dufty (2), Kavanagh, Herbert, Kotobalavu. Goals: Davies (0/3), Herbert (1/2). Penalty Goals: Herbert (1/1).
South Sydney Rabbitohs 26. Tries: Simone, Tangiiti, Coleman, Booth, Goolagong. Goals: Hedges (3/5).