The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 34-16 by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Monday.
The Red-and-Whites scored thrice in the loss including winger Kurt Mann notching a double.
Head Coach Paul McGregor hade mad only the one change in personnel prior to kick-off naming prop Jack de Belin on the interchange bench in lieu of fellow forward Dunamis Lui.
Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson got his team off to a strong start when he managed a stiff palm on Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds before offloading to teammate Kurt Mann who went on to score in the tenth minute.
Dragons co-captain Gareth Widdop converted and made it 6-0.
However, the visitors rallied and capitalised off a defensive lapse on the left-edge when saw winger Sam Perrett cross in the 15th minute.
This was followed-up by subsequent four-pointers to both hooker Michael Lichaa and halfback Moses Mbye by the halfhour mark.
Bulldogs centre Kerrod Holland converted both attempts and made it 16-6.
Yet the hosts got one back just before the break though, when a ricocheted Widdop kick found itself in the in-goal, allowing second-rower Tyson Frizell to dive on it and score.
The Dragons continued their scoring after the break when utility Jake Marketo created an overlap, allowing halfback Benji Marshall to put in a chip over the top for Mann to bank his second in the corner.
Widdop converted again to make it 16-all.
However, the visitors struck back and allowed unmarked winger Curtis Rona to score on the left flank.
Furthermore, in one of the more bizarre tries in recent memory, Bulldogs fullback William Hopoate was awarded a try after it was ruled that prop Tony Williams had accidently passed the ball to himself.
Holland’s conversion made it 26-16.
The three-quarter later converted a penalty goal to make it 28-16.
Unfortunately, an error by Dragons centre Euan Aitken saw Reynolds pick-up the ball and run 30 metres to score under the posts in the 70 th minute.
Holland converted again and made it 34-16.
St George Illawarra Dragons 16. Tries: Mann (2), Frizell. Goals: Widdop (2/3).
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 34. Tries: Perrett, Lichha, Mybe, Rona, Hopoate, Reynolds. Goals: Holland (4/6). Penalty Goal: Holland (1/1).