The St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team were defeated 31-18 by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Monday.
The Young Dragons scored thrice in the loss through prop Jack Kavanagh, hooker Abraham Atallah and winger Thomas Carr but it was not enough for the two-points.
Head Coach Ben Hornby made several changes to the initial line-up announced midweek headlined by Thomas Carr slotting in for Dee Jay Harris on the wing.
Dragons hooker Ryan Fletcher started was given the rake role in lieu of Josh Daley whilst Ryan James was a late call-up on the interchange bench at the expense of Jay Gallagher.
The visitors were forced to contend against a solid Bulldogs defensive line as well as a blistering wind when the game commenced but managed to seize an early lead through prop Jack Kavanagh in the 18th minute.
Dragons centre Topiese Taufa converted to make it 6-0.
Unfortunately, Dragons five-eighth Sam Clune was the victim of having his kick charged-down by Bulldogs second-rower Harry Pondekas who went on to score three minutes later.
Bulldogs five-eighth Brad Keighran converted to even up proceedings at 6-all.
The visitors fought-back and reclaimed their lead on the halfhour mark through interchange hooker Abraham Atallah’s dash over the stripe to make it 10-6.
The Bulldogs proved quickest off the mark when second-half play commenced and it did not take long for the home side to equalise once more through Pondekas’ second of the fixture.
Keighran converted once again to gift the hosts a 12-10 lead.
The Dragons however equalised through interchange prop Ryan James’ penalty conversion minutes later to make it 12-all.
The Bulldogs inflicted a further two tries through winger Reimis Smith and prop Alexander Sorge either side of the hour mark.
Keighran converted both attempts to make it 24-12.
The hosts notched their fifth try of the encounter eleven minutes from time when winger Marcelo Montoya’s dart down the left flank went unopposed.
Keighran converted both attempts to make it 30-12.
The home side added salt to the visitors’ wound when halfback Jake Kamire slotted home a field goal in the 74th minute.
The Dragons scored a consolatory try through winger Thomas Carr in the 78th minute.
Taufa converted to make it 31-18.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18. Tries: Kavanagh, Atallah, Carr. Goals: Taufa (2/3). Penalty Goal: James (1/1).
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 31. Tries: Pondekas (2), Smith, Sorge, Montoya. Goals: Keighran (5/5). Field Goal: Kamire (1/1).