Little separated the two teams in a gripping contest but after it looked like St George Illawarra were finishing the strongest, Gold Coast prop Jarrod Wallace crashed over for a try to force the game to extra time and Isaako scored the match winner.
It was just the third win of the season for the Titans and ended a five-match losing streak, with the return of fullback Jayden Campbell electrifying his side.
Boom St George Illawarra fullback Tyrell Sloan was also recalled after six weeks in the NSW Cup and the duel between the rival No.1's was one of the highlights of the match.
However, Sloan produced a number of errors late in the match, as did fellow Dragons rookie Talatau Amone, who fumbled an attempted field goal by Toby Sexton to give the Titans a final shot at winning the match.
From the ensuing scrum win, they shifted the ball wide rather than setting up for another field goal attempt and Campbell put Isaako over in the corner.
"It's unbelievable. The boys told me to stay out on the wing after two field goal attempts," Isaako said. "I was grateful I was able to get it. It's great for the club and to win for our fans. Losing five games is frustrating but hopefully we can build towards putting our season back on track."
The Dragons overcame the first half sinbinning of Josh McGuire and the second half absence of the veteran forward, whose 250th NRL match ended at the break when he succumbed to a groin injury.
- The Titans were rewarded for a strong start to the match when AJ Brimson scored in the seventh minute after winger Phillip Sami tapped back a Toby Sexton bomb for Beau Fermor, and then positioned himself to receive a pass from the second-rower before shifting the ball quickly to the unmarked Brimson.
- Sexton's kicking game kept the pressure on the Dragons, who were forced to make three goal-line drop-outs in the opening 15 minutes.
- Eventually the pressure took its toll, with Josh McGuire sent to the sin-bin in the 17th minute for repeated infringements as St George Illawarra were forced to defend five repeat sets near their own line.
- Despite being a man short, the 12-man Dragons side declined an opportunity to kick a penalty goal and were rewarded when winger Mat Feagai scored in the 21s minute after Ben Hunt faked to kick and passed to Moses Suli.
- With the teams back to 13 players apiece, it was the Titans who took the lead in the 28th minute after Fermor pounced on an in-goal grubber by Sexton.
- The Dragons lost McGuire at halftime but it didn't slow their momentum as they upped the pressure on the Titans defence.
- Hunt produced a 40-20 kick in the 45th minute but the Dragons failed to capitalise.
- The Red V suffered another set-back when Moses Suli was disallowed a try in the 53rd minute because of an obstruction by Jack Bird on Sexton.
- However, they were finally rewarded when Jack de Belin bumped his way over for a try after Hunt combined with Amone.
- The Dragons looked set to snatch the lead for the first time in the match when Mikaele Ravilawa set sail for the corner only to be bundled into touch by Corey Thompson and Phillip Sami.
- However, Sami was penalised for a shoulder charge and Zac Lomax landed a goal from the sideline to give the Dragons a 12-10 lead in the 65th minute.
- Suli finally scored his first try for St George Illawarra in the 70th minute after Jayden Campbell fumbled a Hunt bomb. The Dragons shifted the ball across field on the next tackle, with Hunt dummying to Sloan before throwing a long pass to the powerhouse centre.
- Lomax's failure to convert ensured the Titans had a chance to draw level and prop Jarrod Wallace decided he was the man to do so when he called for the ball near the try line and charged over in the 74th minute.
- Lomax missed two field goal attempts before the match went into extra time and in the first period of golden point he and Gold Coast winger Jamayne Isaako both failed with attempts.
- Sexton also missed with a field goal attempt but Talatua Amone fumbled the ball near his own line to give the Titans a scrum feed in an ideal attacking position.
- Rather than set up for another field goal, the Titans shifted the ball wide and Campbell put Isaako over in the corner to win the match.
Play of the game
The Dragons were down to 12-men and had absorbed 20 minutes of relentless pressure but captain Ben Hunt ignored a call to go for goal when they received a penalty near the posts. It was a decision that ultimately proved vital as Hunt then combined with Moses Suli to lay on a try for winger Mat Feagai.
What they said
"We all know we are coming off five losses and I thought the game in tough conditions was really good. I felt like we were looking the more dangerous but in the end you never know so to get the try in golden point was brilliant and what we needed. Both sides had some good chances [at field goal]. When we had the scrum I just said go for a try and we were good enough to score.": Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
"We took a real beating in the first 25 minutes, they had about 15 sets to our three or four. That probably drained us a lot. I couldn't be prouder of our effort. We just found a way to keep inviting them back in. We should've gone up by eight and controlled the ball. It's a hard one to endeavour, we've just got to get better.": Dragons coach Anthony Griffin.
The Titans host the Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium next Sunday, while the Dragons welcome the Warriors to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.
The match at Kogarah will double as a tribute to late John Raper, one of four members of St George's era of dominance from 1956 to 1966 who were awarded Immortal status.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin will be awaiting the results of scans on star forward Josh McGuire, who suffered a groin injury that prevented him from returning after the halftime break.
Story first published on NRL.com