The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 36-16 by Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Sunday.
The Young Dragons scored three tries in the loss courtesy of Jai Field, Joe Lovodua and Luciano Leilua.
Head Coach Mat Head had made several changes to the line-up announced midweek with Donte Efaraimo replacing Matheson Johns on the left wing, whilst Ali Allouche got the nod at hooker in place of Reece Robson.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the fourth minute when fullback Daniel Roberts sliced through the line for an early 4-0 lead.
The visitors doubled their lead shortly after when five-eighth Veiru Mapesone threw a cut-out pass to winger Obeid Karwhin on the right edge.
Mapesone converted to make it 10-4.
The Dragons hit back just after the halfhour mark when second-rower Lucian leilua broke free of a tackle before giving the ball to trailing five-eighth Jai Field.
Field converted his own try from in front to peg the margin back to four points.
The hosts momentum though was short lived however, with Mapesone setting winger Toa Mata'afa in the right corner to give the Tigers and eight-point lead heading into the sheds.
Leilua capped off a brilliant opening stanaza with a try three minutes from the interval after barging his way over from close range.
Field converted the try to bring the deficit back to two points.
Leilua continued to toy with the visitors' defence after the break, this time throwing a cut-out pass to eplacement winger Joe Lovodua in the left corner to give the Dragons a 16-14 lead with 27 minutes remaining.
Yet the Tigers regained the lead when second-rower Mark McCormack spun his way out of one tackle to score.
Mapesone converted to make it 20-16.
The Tigers managed to seal the deal with centre Toni Tali, Karwhin and hooker Jacob Liddle all scoring tries in the final 15 minutes.
Mapesone converted two of his three attempts to make it 36-16.
St George Illawarra Dragons 16. Tries: Field, Lovodua, Leilua. Goals: Field: (2/3).
Wests Tigers 36. Tries: Karwhin (2), Roberts, Mata'afa, Tali, Liddle, McCormack. Goals: Mapesone (4/7).