Round 19 v Gold Coast Titans
The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 32-12 by the Gold Coast Titans at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Friday.
The Red-and-Whites scored two tries in the loss courtesy of winger Kurt Mann's double.
Head Coach Paul McGregor Dragons was forced to make several changes to the line-up announced midweek with utility Josh McCrone named as halfback following the omission of Benji Marshall who was unable to overcome a recent hamstring strain sustained midweek.
Furthermore, Jason Nightingale was named as fullback as a result of Josh Dugan undergoing surgery to his jaw and subsequently being sidelined for at least four-to-six weeks.
Fellow Dragons utility Kurt Mann was named on the vacant wing whilst centre Tim Lafai was been named in the three-quarters role.
Dragons prop Mike Cooper had been named on the interchange after overcoming a problematic disk in his back and joined fellow prop Leeson Ah Mau as well as second-rowers Tariq Sims and Jake Marketo.
The Titans though were the first to open the scoring in the third minute when winger Nene Macdonald went up to bring down a Tyrone Roberts across field bomb, planting it in the corner.
The visitors doubled their lead moments later, when second-rower Chris McQueen barged his way over from close range.
Just when it looked like the play was dead, Dragons winger Kurt Mann somehow managed to slam the ball over the line despite three defenders hanging off him, halving the deficit.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop nailed the conversion from out wide to bring the margin back to two points with 22 minutes remaining in the half.
The offloads continued to haunt the Dragons however, with Titans hooker Nathan Peats scurrying away for the visitors third try in 27 minutes.
Titans five-eighth Tyrone Roberts converted to push the lead out to eight points heading into the sheds.
The Titans extended their lead in the first set of the second stanza, with a Dragons error and an offload resulting in a try to fullback David Mead.
Roberts again converted to push the Titans lead to 20-6 with 36 minutes remaining in the game.
A looping pass by Widdop was later intercepted by Nene Macdonald, who ran 80 metres to score his second try of the game.
Roberts converted from right in front to give the Titans a 20 point lead with 22 minutes remaining.
The Titans added to their lead when centre Konrad Hurrell made a break, before passing to winger Anthony Don, who finished under the posts.
Roberts converted the try to give the visitors a 26 point lead heading into the final five minutes.
With 30 seconds remaining, Mann stepped his way to his second try of the match to pull the margin back to 20 points following the Widdop conversion.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12. Tries: Mann (2). Goals: Widdop (2/2).
Golf Coast Titans 32. Tries: Macdonald (2), McQueen, Don, Peats, Mead. Goals: Tyrone Roberts (4/6), Ash Taylor (0/1).