The St George Illawarra Dragons 30-24 by the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Sunday.
The Young Dragons managed to score four tries in the local derby including a double to centre Izaac Thompson but it was not enough to secure bragging rights.
Head Coach Ben Hornby made several changes to the team announced midweek leading into the match with prop Blake Lawrie elevated from the interchange to start in lieu of the omitted Jay Gallagher.
This allowed centre Donte Efaraimo to make his debut from the bench having been elevated from the Illawarra Steelers SB Ball squad.
Both clubs entered the local derby on the back of respective extended breaks courtesy of their allocated bye rounds but it were the visitors who struck first.
Sharks winger Levy Sopi managed to notch his name onto the score sheet in the second minute of play courtesy of an unopposed blistering run down the left flank.
Sharks fullback Ryan Cummins converted to make it 6-0.
However, the home side fought back and soon recorded a try of their own when centre Izaac Thompson scored in the seventh minute.
Dragons winger Patrick Herbert converted to level proceedings at 6-all.
Despite their early efforts, the hosts were unable to absorb the barrage of attacking plays being created by their opposite numbers and soon found themselves trailing by twelve points.
The Sharks initially reclaimed the lead through Sopi once again in the 15th minute before succumbing to halfback Bradley Deitz four minutes later.
Cummins converted both attempts to make it 18-6.
The Dragons narrowed the deficit to with eight points when winger Rowland Kotobalavu crossed the stripe following Thompson’s quick offload to the left in the 26th minute.
Herbert’s conversion subsequently made it 18-12.
The goal-scorer went on the offensive and showed-off his acrobatic skills to secure the home side’s third try of the encounter six minutes out from the interval.
However, this was nullified by Sharks winger Semisi Vea’s darting dash down the right flank in the 39th minute.
The Sharks continued where they left off when play recommenced with Sopi crossing to round-out his hat trick in the 45th minute.
The Dragons persistently pressed forward in search of points to level the encounter but were halted by a resilient visiting defence.
The hosts eventually managed to penetrate the wall with eleven minutes to spare when Thompson tallied his second of the match to make it 26-20.
Unfortunately, the Sharks replied through five-eighth Jaden Clark in the 73rd minute.
The Dragons managed a final consolatory try to prop Jacob Host just prior to the final siren but it was not enough for the win.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24. Tries: Thompson (2), Kotobalavu, Herbert, Host. Goals: Herbert (2/3).
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 30. Tries: Sopi (3), Deitz, Vea, Clarke. Goals: Cummins (3/5).