A spirited second half comeback from the U20 Thunderbolts was not enough for the Storm side to claim victory on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 6-38 early in the second half, four tries in a row saw the Thunderbolts charging back, only the fall eight points short. A sloppy opening half in defence would ultimately cost the young outfit.
The U20 Thunderbolts started the match in promising fashion, defusing an early Dragons attack before jumping on the front foot themselves. Jacob Tonge broke through an opening on the left to score with Jess Arthars’s conversion giving Eric Smith’s side a 6-0 lead after five minutes.
The try seemed to spark the home side into action however, with the hosts controlling all the momentum for the half thereafter.
Leveling the scores through second-rower Luciano Leilua, St. George Illawarra then pressed on, putting the Thunderbolts defence under sustained pressure.
Five more unanswered tries in the last half an hour of the opening stanza saw the hosts take a comfortable 32-6 lead into half-time.
The second half continued as the first ended until the Thunderbolts found some resistance nine minutes after the break when Cory Parker found the try line.
Josh Kerr’s try 55 minutes into the contest gave the Thunderbolts a glimmer of hope before Scott Drinkwater’s effort from a quick play the ball gave his side some reward for an improved second half performance.
However there was too much for the Thunderbolts left to do, needing three tries in the final 10 minutes to steal victory.
U20 Thunderbolts 30
Tries: Jacob Tonge, Cory Parker, Josh Kerr, Scott Drinkwater, Charlie Galo
Goals: Jesse Arthars 5
U20 Dragons 38
Tries: Luciano Leilua, Paora Kemp 2, Reuben Garrick 3, Ali Allouche
Goals: Jai Field 5