The St George Illawarra Dragons drew 30-all with the North Queensland Cowboys at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored five tries in the tough encounter with fullback Matt Dufty scoring a double whilst five-eighth Jai Field converted all five attempts at goal.
Head Coach Mat Head had made several personnel changes to the line-up prior to kick-off with utility Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards elevated to the centres in lieu of Donte Efaraimo.
This meant prop Stuart Mason became a late inclusion and started on the interchange ahead of duo Joe Lovodua and Vaughan Thistlewaite who were both omitted.
The home side had entered the encounter on the back of four consecutive wins but found themselves trailing by a hefty margin midway through the first stanza.
The Cowboys had dealt their initial blow minutes into the contest through winger Marcus Jensen who ran rampant down the left flank.
This was followed-up by hooker Brandon Smith doubling his team’s advantage in the 17th minute before Jensen notch his second of the game moments later.
Cowboys captain Cooper Bambling however had managed just one of his three attempts at goal to leave it 14-0.
However, all was not lost for the hosts who went on to score three unanswered converted tries to welcome the interval four-points in front.
Field had been the first points-scorer for his team having bamboozled his way over the stripe just prior to the half hour mark.
Dragons prop TJ Uele, having started the game on the bench, then etched his name on to the score sheet four minutes later before Dufty weaved his way over the line from the left hand side as the siren rang.
Field had converted all three goal attempts and made it 18-14.
Dufty continued his team’s momentum following the break and notched his second of the encounter in similar fashion to his first in the 47th minute.
Field converted the extras and made it 24-14.
But the ten point advantage was shortly lived with the visitors clawing their way back into the game through the footwork of Smith once more.
Bambling converted to make it 24-20.
The final period of the match proved to be nail-biting with the visitors amassing kicking pressure on their hosts in search of points.
The home side had managed to score their fifth of the match-up through the pure strength of centre Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards in the 68th minute.
Field had then added the extras to make it 30-10.
But the Cowboys were not dissuaded and recorded two late tries courtesy of second-rower Trey Kemp and centre Nathan Traill.
Bambling converted only one of his two kicks to equalise and make it 30-all.
St George Illawarra Dragons 30. Tries: Dufty (2), Field, Uele, Tuuta-Edwards. Goals: Field (5/5).
North Queensland Cowboys 30 Tries: Jensen (2), Smith (2), Kemp, Traill. Goals: Bambling (3/6).