The Vodafone Junior Warriors made a fast start but ultimately went down 24-48 to St George Illawarra in today's fourth-round NYC clash at UOW Jubilee Oval.
Tries to wing Lewis Soosemea and fullback Kane Telea enabled the Vodafone Junior Warriors to race to a 10-0 lead early on but the Dragons ran in eight tries in all after leading 30-16 in a high-scoring first half.
Dragons fullback Steve Marsters looked to have scored in the first set of the game before Soosemea jolted the ball free in a try-saving effort.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors would go back-to-back with Soosemea going over in the corner in acrobatic fashion before halfback Dylan Tavita delivered a timely inside ball for Telea to go over near the posts as the visitors took a two-try lead after eight minutes.
Four penalties in a minute of play gifted the Dragons an opportunity to bounce back with Jackson Willis throwing the dummy and charging over the line.
Prop Matt Sheppard made an error that put the home side under pressure following its first try.
However the Dragons defended well and Sheppard was able to break through the line in the 24th minute and stepped inside Telea to level the game.
The Dragons clicked into gear with a team try that went through seven sets of hands before Sailor placed a perfect grubber kick for opposite winger Matheson Johns to go over out wide.
A sideline conversion from Zac Lomax went over the black dot and suddenly the momentum was with the homr side with another four-pointer to Willis minutes later blowing the Dragons' lead out to 24-10 with seven minutes before the halftime break.
A strong charge from Vodafone Junior Warriors standoff Chanel Harris-Tavita carried four Dragons defenders over the line as the visitors hit back on the stroke of halftime. Howeve,r the Dragons were not done with yet as Gillard was on the end of a perfectly placed kick from Willis to go over with the halftime siren sounding in the background.
Lomax was having a great day out with the boot, converting five from five as the Wayne Collins-coached side took a 14-point lead into the break.
It got worse for the Vodafone Junior Warriors seven minutes into the second half when the Dragons converted another long range effort into points as centre Reuben Garrick delivered the flick pass for Johns into space before he kicked infield for Sailor backing up in support.
Sailor was again in on the action for the Dragons' seventh of the day when he put back rower Jayden Morgan into a hole on the right edge to stroll over untouched.
Another error after points resulted in the Dragons hitting back instantly with Sheppard getting a double after charging over next to the posts.
Vodafone Junior Warriors centre Melino Fineanganofo was arguably the best in a beaten side and was rewarded with a late try for the visitors to narrow the margin.
Match details | UOW Jubilee Oval, Sydney
St Illawarra Dragons 48 (Jackson Willis 2, Matt Sheppard 2, Matheson Johns, Jason Gillard, Tristan Sailor, Jayden Morgan tries; Zac Lomax 8 conversions).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 24 (Lewis Soosemea, Kane Telea, Joe Vuna, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Melino Fineanganofo tries; Kane Telea 2 conversions).
Halftime: 30-16 Dragons.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Kane Telea; Lewis Soosemea, Mat Faitotoa, Melino Fineanganofo, Edward Vaeau-Mulitalo; Chanel Harris-Tavita, Dylan Tavita; Kenese Kenese (c), Chris Sio (c), Soane Hufanga; Joe Vuna, Havi Tupouniua; Jerome Mamea. Interchange: Liam Hampson, Elijah Sufia, Nathan Newton, Keanu Laumatia-Paki.