The St George Illawarra Dragons were 26-24 winners over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the SCG on Sunday.
The Young Dragons scored five tries to secure their first win of the new season including a double to prop Luciano Leilua.
Head Coach Mat Head had made several changes to the line-up announced midweek fullback Logan Yates starting in the custodian’s role for Mat Dufty.
Furthermore, prop Nathan Leatigaga was elevated to the starting forward-pack in lieu of Matt Jurd show shifted to the interchange bench to join fellow front-rower TJ Uele, halfback Joe Lovodua and utility Max Bailey.
The home side entered the encounter still in search of their first win of the season and were forced to play catch-up from the onset.
The visitors inflicted their first blow against the hosts through centre Siosifa Talakai’s darting dash down the middle on the 10th minute of play.
Rabbitohs five-eighth Chad O’Donnell then converted to make it 6-0.
Fortunately, the Dragons responded with some quick, slick passing which found hooker Reece Robson eight minutes later.
Dragons winger Paora Kemp’s goal equalised proceedings at 6-all.
Unfortunately, the visitors returned serve and reclaimed the lead five minutes later through winger Tom Perrin.
O’Donnell’s conversion made it 12-6.
The Rabbtiohs inflicted a further four-pointer through fullback Latrell Robinson moments later to extend their lead further.
O’Donnell’s conversion made it 18-6.
The Dragons were the fastest out the gates when second-half play had resumed and clawed their way back to level pegging by the 54th minute.
Dragons prop TJ Uele was the first over the white stripe nine minutes into the resumption of play before fellow forward Luicano Leilua followed suit minutes later.
Kemp kicked both goals to make it an even contest.
The hosts prized the lead away from their opposite numbers just prior to the hour mark when centre Izaac Thompson used brute strength to power his way over the try line.
However, with roles reversed, the Rabbitohs rallied to level-up the scoring through hooker Maia Sands eight minutes later.
O’Donnell’s conversion gifted the visitors a two-point lead.
Yet on the cup of the final siren, Leilua barged his was over the stripe once again to ultimately secure the first two-points of the competition season for his team.
St George Illawarra Dragons 26. Tries: Leilua (2), Robson, Uele, Thompson. Goals: Kemp (3/5).
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24. Tries: Talakai, Perrin, Robinson, Sands. Goals: O’Donnell (4/4).