St George Illawarra have missed out on the Holden Cup grand final after falling to the Sydney Roosters 26-20 in their preliminary final.
The young Dragons blew a 14-0 half-time lead as the Roosters produced an impressive second half comeback to book their place in next Sunday’s decider against Penrith.
Dragons captain Patrick Herbert put the Red V in front with a try after five minutes before Luciano Leilua crashed over six minutes later from a slick Matt Dufty flick pass.
Dragons halfback Jack Payne then scored on the stroke of half-time, with Jai Field’s conversion extending St George Illawarra’s lead to 14-0 at the break.
But the Roosters came out firing in the second half, with back-rower Reuben Porter scoring two minutes after the restart to reduce the deficit to eight points.
Roosters’ hooker Grant Garvey scored seven minutes later to have his side trailing 14-12 before Dragons’ Australian Schoolboys representative hooker Reece Robson took St George Illawarra’s lead back out to 20-12.
But late tries to Bernard Lewis, Poasa Faamausili and Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck sealed the six-point win for the Roosters and ended the Dragons’ season.