The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 16-10 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Monday.
The Red-and-Whites scored two tries in the encounter courtesy of Gareth Widdop and Jason Nightingale but it was not enough to claim the two competition points.
Head Coach Paul McGregor made several changes to the line-up announced in midweek prior to the game with Josh Dugan returning to the fullback position.
Subsequently, Peter Mata’utia shifted to the wing in lieu of the omitted Eto Nabuli, who again rested a minor knee injury.
Dragons duo Jake Marketo and George Rose both additionally dropped off the extended interchange bench.
The Dragons entered the encounter on the back of a six game undefeated streak but found themselves trailing early after the hosts were awarded a dubious penalty in the sixth minute.
Rabbitohs five-eighth Adam Reynolds converted his opportunity to make it 2-0.
However, the visitors soon evened-up proceedings with a penalty conversion of their own five minutes later after the home side’s markers had been adjourned to be offside.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop easily converted to make it 2-all.
The visitors went one better than their previous effort to notch the opening four-pointer of the encounter in the 19th minute.
Dragons winger Peter Mata’utia was the instigator of the successful play, managing to burst through his marker with forty metres to spare, before offloading inside to Widdop, who ultimately slid across the stripe from short range.
Yet, the hosts rallied to score six minutes from the interval with a well-executed play to the far-left which culminated in winger Aaron Gray making it 6-all.
Fortunately, this setback was only temporary as Dragons winger Jason Nightingale reprised the lead for the visitors sheer moments later.
The Rabbitohs proved quickest off the mark when second-half play commenced and equalised through Gray’s double of the match in the 46th minute.
Reynold’s conversion put them ahead 12-10.
The hosts continued their good form just shy of the hourmark through winger Alex Johnston who managed to breach the visiting team’s defence on the right edge.
The Dragons continued pressing forward in search of an equaliser of their own for the remainder of the period but were unable to do so.
St George Illawarra Dragons: 10. Tries: Widdop, Nightingale. Goals: Widdop (0/2). Penalty Goal: Widdop (1/1).
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 16. Tries: Gray (2), Johnston. Goals: Reynolds (1/3). Penalty Goal: Reynolds (1/1).