The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 34-32 by the Cronulla Sharks at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Saturday.
The Young Dragons scored six tries in the high-scoring affair which was ultimately decided by a single goal.
Head Coach Matt Head had made several changes prior to kick-off with centre Izaac Thompson named in the centres, which shifted Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards to the interchange bench.
Furthermore, prop Stuart Mason was promoted to the run on side in place of Jacob Esau, who also started the game from bench.
The Young Dragons opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Stuart Mason spun out of a tackle, before slamming the ball down for a 4-0 lead.
The Sharks hit back shortly after though, with two tries to winger Sione Katoa in the space of three minutes to give his side a 10-4 lead halfway through the first-half.
The visitors did not wait long to add to their lead, with five-eighth Rhys Davies grubbering for himself in the in-goal, before diving on the loose ball.
Centre Bessie Aufaga-Toumaga converted the try to give the Sharks a 16-4 lead 13 minutes before half time.
Two tries in the final 10 minutes to lock Eddie Faulua and second-rower Jayden Bralay sent the Sharks into the sheds with a 28-4 half-time lead.
The Young Dragons came out firing to start the second half, with centre Izaac Thompson and halfback Jack Payne crossing to bring the margin back to 14 points.
The Sharks retook the lead when Davies sliced through the line to score under the posts for his second try of the afternoon.
Aufaga-Toumaga converted the try to give the Sharks a 34-14 lead with just under half an hour remaining.
Tries to forward TJ Uele and fullback Matt Dufty in quick succession put the score at 34-26 with 15 minutes to go.
When Patrick Herbert evaded two tacklers to score in the corner for a converted try, it set up a grandstand finish with four minutes remaining.
Unfortunately, the Young Dragons were unable to take the lead, falling two points short.
St George Illawarra Dragons 32. Tries: Mason, Thompson, Dufty, Payne, Uele, Herbert. Goals: Field (4/6).
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 34. Tries: Katoa (2), Davies (2), Faulua, Bralay. Goals: Aufaga-Toumaga (5/6)