Craig Cauchi reviews the traditional ANZAC day clash between St George Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters.
St George Illawarra Dragons 14
Tries: Francis Molo 11, Jayden Su’A 24
Goals: Zac Lomax 13, 26, 36
Sydney Roosters 12
Tries: Sitili Tupouniua 45, Joseph Manu 68
Goals: Sam Walker 46, 70
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Roosters went into the match as heavy favourites and after the early exchanges it looked like they were settling in for a big win.
They had great opportunity to attack the Dragons line in the first ten minutes but were probably too guilty of trying to go around while the Dragons defence scrambled well to deny the tricolours first points.
The Red V managed to hold their line and on their first chance down the other side of the field, Francis Molo walked through the Roosters middle defence and ran it in under the posts.
It didn’t change the charge of the Roosters as they continued to pile on the pressure but continued to come away with nothing to show for it.
The Dragons scored next with Jayden Su’A the beneficiary of a mistake from a cross field bomb and they added a penalty goal to their total to give them an unlikely lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: St George Illawarra Dragons 14 Sydney Roosters 0Embed from Getty Images
The Dragons came out for the second half without Jack Bird and only minutes into the second half they lost second rower Jayden Su’A.
The Roosters straightened up their attack and it was clear it helped lift their intensity as they charged down the middle field.
The Dragons failed to finish their set and James Tedesco made a break, which they were able to capitalise on. They followed the break up with a long shift to the left where Sitili Tupouniua got the Roosters on the board with their first try.
The Dragons went back on the attack quickly afterwards but weren’t able to string together cohesive football to threaten the Roosters or pile on any pressure.
The Roosters looked certain to score numerous times, only being kept out by costly mistakes and desperate defence from the Dragons.
Mistakes from the Dragons kept inviting the Roosters back into the match and they got within two points after a try to Joey Manu, who – along with James Tedesco – came alive in the second half.
The match was setup for a grand stand final ten minutes with the Roosters chasing the points. They set up shop down the right end of the field and the Dragons struggled to make any metres in attack and only just managing to keep the Roosters from crossing the line.
A tight 40/20 quick from Ben Hunt gave them a fresh set attacking the line and a chance to run the clock down.
The Roosters were given the final minute to score the match winning try and only desperate defence managed to prevent them from sealing an exciting victory.
FULL-TIME: St George Illawarra Dragons 14 Sydney Roosters 12
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Ben Hunt (Dragons), 2 pts – Joseph Manu (Roosters), 1 pt – Josh McGuire (Dragons)
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