Young Dragons' Rabbitohs loss compounded by top eight fallout

The Jersey Flegg St George Illawarra Dragons have been defeated 28-18 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs in an agonisingly close finish.

The young Dragons were desperate for a win after their devastating 18-point loss to the Sydney Roosters the weekend prior.

The loss was compounded by other Round 19 Jersey Flegg results, the young Dragons dropping out of the top eight with five games to spare.

An energetic opening saw Dragons halfback Blair Grant help set up fullback Cody Ramsey for the game's first try in the second minute.

The Rabbitohs wrestled back momentum and eventually wore down the Dragons' goal line defence as lock Ky Rodwell kicked off proceedings for Souths. He would quickly follow up with his second try in identical fashion.

With five minutes remaining in the first half, Rabbitoh Luke Puru forced his way over the try-line to help extend his side's advantage to 12 by the break.

The Rabbitohs continued where they left off in the second half as South Sydney winger Kane Allan opened the scoring just two minutes in.

The young Dragons were desperately looking to turn the game around and it was a try from centre Shaun Sauni-Esau after a pinpoint kick from Grant that would give them hope.

The momentum remained in the hands of a young Dragons team eager to score back-to-back tries. It came via hooker Blake Barbuto, who ran 20 metres from the play the ball to dive over the try-line narrowing the lead to just one converted try.

With only three minutes remaining, the Rabbitohs were able to seal their win when halfback Lachlan Ilias scored in the corner.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 (Rodwell 2, Puru, Allan, Ilias tries; Ilias 4 goals) defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 18 (Ramsey, Sauni-Esau, Barbuto tries; Grant 2, Sullivan 1 goal(s)) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.