The St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team were defeated 28-24 by the Sydney Roosters in their ANZAC Day clash at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park on Wednesday.
The Young Dragons ran-in four tries in the loss with Jack Buchanan scoring twice alongside Luke Gallagher and Kayne Brennan.
Head Coach Justin Holbrook had opted to stick to the same personnel announced in his team line-up earlier in the week and was hoping to emulate last round’s 36-16 win over the Newcastle Knights.
The Young Dragons had started the attack early in their previous run-out but found themselves in this instance on the back-foot from the get-go.
Roosters lock Jack Noble inflicted the early blow eight minutes in for the visitors after crossing down the left flank before winger Paul Rokolati converted from the tee.
The Young Dragons responded in quick fashion and after six-minutes after attack struck the needed equaliser in the sunny conditions.
Prop Luke Gallagher was the try-scorer after barging his way over the stripe and hooker Daniel Burke evened-up the scoreboard with his conversion moments later.
The home side, for all their efforts moving the ball, soon found themselves trailing once more after winger Usaia O’Sullivan crossed for the Roosters.
Rokolati was once again on strike with the extras to make the score 12-6 in favour of the visitors, which is how it remained at the break.
The Young Dragons struck fast and precise when second-half play commenced with captain Jack Buchanan crossing twice in fast succession.
The Dragons skipper brace began four minutes in with a bolting run down the middle to plant the ball between the posts before doing so again three minutes later.
Burke was on target from both his attempts to do his part in the home side’s 18-12 lead.
It was the first time Holbrook’s stalwarts had led in the game but their points-advantage was cut-back to two by Roosters’ five-eighth Dean Blackman 52nd minute try.
Yet the home side remained composed and soon re-extended their advantage with winger Kayne Brennan’s try 11-minutes from time.
This was complimented again by Burke’s goal making the score 24-18 in favour of Holbrook’s stalwarts.
But the Roosters rallied and two late-tries to fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (72nd) and second-rower Rhyse Martin, alongside Rokolati’s conversions sealed the win for the Roosters.
Roosters 28 defeated the Dragons 24.
St George-Illawarra Dragons: 24. Tries: Buchanan (2), Gallagher, Brennan. Goals: Burke (4/4).
Sydney Roosters: 28. Tries: Noble, O’Sullivan, Blackman, Tuivasa-Sheck, Martin. Goals: Rokolati (4/5).