The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 26-20 by the Sydney Roosters in their Preliminary Final fixture at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park on Friday.
The Young Dragons scored four tries in the loss with quartet Patrick Herbert, Luciano Leilua, Jack Payne and Reece Robson all crossing over the stripe.
Head Coach Mat Head had made just the one positional change prior to kick off with prop Jacob Esau named in the starting side in lieu of Matt Jurd who reverted to the interchange.
The Dragons had started strongly, scoring in the sixth minute when five-eighth Jai Field gave a short ball to centre Patrick Herbert, who burst through the line to give the home side a 4-0 lead.
The home side then doubled their lead five minutes later, with fullback Matt Dufty taking the line on on the last tackle, before popping a ball on to second rower Luciano Leilua, who crashed over for his ninth try of the season.
The Dragons notched a third prior to the interval when halfback Jack Payne threw a dummy, before using his footwork to get over the line.
Dragons five-eighth Jai Field added the extras to give the Young Dragons a 14-0 lead heading into half time.
The Roosters opened their account just after play recommenced with second rower Victor Radley barging his way over just to the left of the upright.
Halfback Jesse Marschke converted the try to put the score at 14-6.
The Rooster later had their second shortly after when hooker Grant Garvey put in a grubber kick for himself, before picking up the rebound to score next to the posts.
Marschke made short work of the kick to reduce the margin to two points with half an hour remaining.
The Dragons stemmed the flow of points through hooker Reece Robson 10 minutes later, with the rake taking advantage of an overlap out of dummy half.
Field added the two points to push the Dragons lead out to 20-12 with 18 minutes left.
Unfortunately, the Roosters hit back shortly after, with five-eighth Paul Momirovski putting in a grubber kick for winger Bernard Lewis, who scored in the corner to peg the margin back to four points with 11 minutes remaining.
The visitors then levelled the scores in the next set, with prop Poasa Faamausili spinning out of two tackles for the Roosters fourth try.
Marschke converted to give the Roosters their first lead of the game seven minutes before full time.
In one final play, Roosters winger Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck crossed over the stripe with four minutes remaining to give his team one final four-pointer.
St George Illawarra Dragons 20. Tries: Herbert, Leilua, Payne, Robson. Goals: Field (2/4).
Sydney Roosters 26. Tries: Radley, Garvey, Faamausili, Lewis, Tuivasa-Sheck. Goals: Marschke (3/5).