The St George Illawarra Dragons have done enough to hold out the North Queensland Cowboys, winning 28-22 at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday night.
The Dragons hit the scoreboard first through Nene Macdonald, the winger latching on to a wayward Josh McCrone pass before crossing in the corner in spectacular fashion.
The Cowboys levelled up through winger Gideon Gela-Mosby who scored out wide following a Blake Leary grubber.
In an otherwise even tussle, the Dragons finally hit the lead midway through the first half when centre Tim Lafai juked his way past would-be Cowboys defenders to score.
A Lafai flick pass helped contribute to the Dragons' next four-pointer, with Kurt Mann diving over in the corner.
A penalty goal from Gareth Widdop was quickly followed by a try to the skipper thanks to second-phase play from Jack de Belin and Russell Packer.
Lafai's second try came three minute from half-time to help put the Red V ahead 28-4 at the break.
Three tries in nine minutes put the Cowboys well back in proceedings. It started in the 55th minute when Ben Spina pounced on a loose Michael Morgan grubber.
Morgan himself crossed next following a handy ball from makeshift five-eighth John Asiata in the 62nd minute.
This was quickly followed up two minutes later by Scott Bolton, who capitalised off a messy ending to an Asiata bomb to put the Cowboys back within six.
A nervous final 15 minutes ensued though the Dragons would hang on by the skin of their teeth.
St George Illawarra Dragons 28 (Tim Lafai 2, Nene Macdonald, Kurt Mann, Gareth Widdop tries; Gareth Widdop 4 goals) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 22 (Gideon Gela-Mosby, Ben Spina, Michael Morgan, Scott Bolton tries; Kyle Feldt 3 goals) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong. Half-time: Dragons 28-4. Crowd: 13,886.