The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 30-24 by Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored five tries in the loss but were ultimately left to rue their kicking game when it mattered.
Head Coach Ben Hornby had opted to make several changes to the line-up announced midweek with prop Jay Gallagher shifted to the second-row in lieu of the omitted Jacob Host.
This meant fellow prop PJ Los’e was elevated to the starting forward-pack whilst utility Dee Jay Harris became a late addition on the interchange bench.
The switches in personnel however did not prevent the visitors from taking an early lead through centre Obed Karwhin in the fourth minute of play.
Tigers second-rower Matt Woods then converted to make it 6-0.
However, the early deficit seemed to prompt the hosts into action and they later replied with three unanswered tries prior to the interval.
Dragons prop Jay Gallagher was the first to scribe his name onto the score sheet with his valiant charge-and-barge across the stripe just shy of the halfhour mark.
Dragons winger Patrick Herbert followed suit with an aerial planting of the ball minutes later down the left flank before centre Reuben Garrick crossed on the opposite side.
Dragons second-rower Ryan James notched only one of his three visits to the tee to make it 14-6.
The Tigers struck first following the break through utility Esan Marsters in the 44th minute.
Woods followed-suit with his conversion to narrow the deficit back to 14-12.
However, the home side re-established their points-buffer through the dynamics of winger Tom Carr in the 50th minute.
James added the extras to make it 20-12.
This was followed by hooker Ryan Fletcher notching a nifty four-pointer from his dummying prowess in the 58th minute.
James converted to make it 26-12.
Unfortunately, the visitors inflicted several late blows to the Dragons to ultimately clinch the two-competition points.
Tigers lock Tyler Cassell was the first to cross the stripe in the 67th minute before centre Marion Seve claimed a double near the end.
Woods successfully struck a trifecta of goals to make it 30-24.
St George Illawarra Dragons 26. Tries: Gallagher, Herbert, Garrick, Carr, Fletcher. Goals: James (3/5).
Wests Tigers 30. Tries: Seve (2)Kawhin, Marsters, Cassell. Goals: Woods (5/5).