The St George Illawarra Dragons have staged a late fightback to beat the Bulldogs 28-22 on Saturday in Wollongong.
After taking an early 10-0 lead, the Dragons fell behind 22-10 before breaking the visitors’ hearts with three tries in the final 15 minutes.
Scores were locked at 22-22 before Dragons five-eighth Corey Norman scooped up a loose ball following a Bulldogs error to score a match-winning try a minute from full-time.
The Bulldogs were on track to give caretaker coach Steve Georgallis a win in his first week on the job before the home team’s late revival.
The Dragons were on the board inside the opening 60 seconds, with Zac Lomax catching Norman’s bomb and putting Matt Dufty away for a try under the posts.
Dufty was involved in the second try, sending Euan Aitken through brittle defence in the eighth minute. Lomax hit the upright with the conversion attempt and it stayed 10-0.
The Bulldogs regrouped, gradually working their way into the game and closing the gap to 10-6 with Jeremy Marshall-King’s 20th-minute converted try.
They had the Dragons under pressure again 10 minutes later and were rewarded with a try from a scrum to Nick Meaney, who converted for a 12-10 lead.
Alarm bells would’ve been ringing for Dragons coach Paul McGregor when Raymond Faitala-Mariner crashed over seven minutes from half-time. Meaney added the extras before booting a penalty goal for a 20-10 lead at the break.
A Meaney penalty goal 15 minutes into the second half stretched the margin to 12, as both teams struggled to create try-scoring opportunities.
The Dragons trimmed the deficit to 22-16 with Jason Saab’s converted try 15 minutes from full-time and locked it up at 22-22 with Dufty’s converted try with six minutes remaining.