The St George Illawarra Dragons were 28-16 winners over the Penrith Panthers at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Thursday.
The Young Dragons scored five tries in the win with winger Tom Carr successfully scoring a double’s worth of tries.
Head Coach Ben Hornby opted to standby the personnel he named in the team midweek but found his charges trailing early on.
The Panthers had proved the quickest off the mark when play commenced and second-rower Corey Waddell inflicted the early blow in the seventh minute.
However, the homeside remained undeterred by this initial setback and soon levelled proceedings through winger Tom Carr in the 15th minute.
The local Helensburgh Tigers junior had been the beneficiary of a smart cut-out pass to the chest by fullback Matt Dufty to get himself in position to slide across the stripe.
Dragons second-rower Ryan James converted to make it 6-4.
Local Renown United junior Jacob Host managed to break the line seven minutes later to increase the hosts’ lead out to 10-4.
The Dragons clearly had momentum in their court as the stanza of play continued and they notched a further four-pointer through Carr once again just after the half hour mark.
The visitors however managed to claw the deficit back to within six points after the interval when utility Sam Elwin scored off a neat attacking bomb in the 45th minute.
Panthers halfback Natahn Cleary converted to make it 14-10.
Dragons centre Reuben Garrick however made sure a comeback by the visitors was not on the cards when he managed to intercept and race nearly the length of the field to score in the 49th minute.
James converted once more to make it 20-10.
The second-rower added a further two points just after the hour mark when the hosts were awarded a penalty.
The Panthers scored their third try of the encounter when prop Cowen Epere scribed his name on to the score sheet in the 70th minute.
Cleary converted to make it 22-16.
Dragons prop Jay Gallagher though made sure the final celebrations were for the home side when he burst through a hole down the left-edge to score.
James converted to make it 28-16.
St George Illawarra Dragons 28. Tries: Carr (2), Host, Garrick, Gallagher. Goals: James (2/4). Penalty Goal: James (1/1).
Penrith Panthers 16. Tries: Waddell, Elwin, Epere. Goals: Cleary (2/3).