The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 30-18 by the Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta on Monday.
The Red-and-Whites scored three tries in the loss including a late double to winger Kurt Mann.
Head Coach Paul McGregor had opted to make only the one change heading into the fixture with prop Tariq Sims named on the interchange following his recovery from an ankle injury in lieu of utility Will Matthews.
Yet despite this, it was the Eels who opened the scoring in the 16th minute after winger Semi Radradra got a pass away to fullback Bevan French, who scored five metres in from touch.
Eels winger Michael Gordon converted from out wide to make it 6-0.
The hosts extended their lead off the back of a penalty moments later when with prop Kenny Edwards took a quick tap to score just to the left of the uprights.
Gordon converted again and made it 12-0.
The Dragons however hit back just before half time, with halfback Drew Hutchison bouncing out of one tackle to score his first career try at first-grade level.
Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop converted and madeit 12-6.
The Eels closed the gap after the break with five-eighth Clint Gutherson getting a pass to an unmarked Bevan French, who went in untouched.
An offload from prop Tim Mannah resulted to more points for the Eels, before centre Brad Takairangi put the kick in for French to score his third try of the night.
The Eels all but secured the victory with one final try through Michael Gordon, who went on to convert his own try from the sideline for 30-6 scoreline with 12 minutes remaining.
However, winger Kurt Mann struck twice in the final minutes of the stanza to pull the deficit back to a respectable scoreline.
Widdop converted both attempts to make it 30-18.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18. Tries: Mann (2), Hutchison. Goals: Widdop (3/3).
Parramatta Eels 30. Tries: French (3), Gordon, Edwards. Goals: Gordon (5/5).