St.George-Illawarra won the traditional ANZAC Day game, beating the Sydney Roosters 24-8 at Allianz Stadium (SFS) in front of over 40,000 fans.
St. George-Illawarra 6-0: Nene Macdonald try (1st minute), Gareth Widdop goal (1st minute).
St. George-Illawarra 6-2: Latrell Mitchell goal (19th minute).
St. George-Illawarra 12-2: Ben Hunt try (39th minute), Widdop goal (39th minute).
St. George-Illawarra 18-2: Tariq Sims try (45th minute), Widdop goal (46th minute).
St. George-Illawarra 18-8: Mitchell try (50th minute), Mitchell goal (51st minute).
St. George-Illawarra 24-8: Macdonald try (68th minute), Widdop goal (70th minute).
WIDDOP AND HUNT GUIDE DRAGONS
The Dragons halves Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt dominated their 2018 ANZAC Day win. Hunt’s try on halftime gave them a crucial 12-2 lead after absorbing a lot of pressure, while Widdop kicked four goals from six attempts, kicked ahead for Nene Macdonald’s first try and threw the final pass for Tariq Sims’ try, which pushed the Dragons’ lead even further.
DRAGONS STAY ON TOP
After last week’s Auckland loss broke their undefeated run, the Dragons would’ve been desperate to make amends today. The intent was obvious with McDonald scoring in the first minute. Leading 12-2 at halftime, the Dragons weathered a Roosters fightback before clearing to a comfortable win, staying in first place with a 7-1 record (before the Melbourne v NZ Warriors game), and their 11th ANZAC Day win. It’s bad news for the Roosters, now 4-4 and stuck in the big mid-table pack.
THE SFS PUTS ON A SHOW
For all the jokes about two men and a dog turning up to Sydney Roosters games at the SFS, there was finally a bumper crowd in Moore Park today – 41,142.
While it was technically a Dragons home game, the crowd was chanting for the Roosters from kick off, and gave it a semi-final atmosphere.
With Homebush getting all the big ticket games, it’s great to see the grand old SFS (the NSWRL’s spiritual home in the 80s and 90s) rocking again.
REFEREES LET THE GAME FLOW
Often the (justifiable) target of criticism, the referees finally put their whistles away and let the ANZAC Day game flow, with just eight penalties.
It made a huge difference, with the Dragons defending tenaciously in the first half as the Roosters dominated possession in the Dragons’ 20, and Hunt scored a crucial try on halftime.
The only really controversial moment was Macdonald’s second try: ruled a try on-field, the Bunker couldn’t find enough conclusive evidence to overturn in, despite doubts over Macdonald’s grounding.
ST. GEORGE-ILLAWARRA 24
Tries: Nene Macdonald 2, Ben Hunt, Tariq Sims
Goals: Gareth Widdop 4/6
Drop Goals: NA
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 8
Tries: Latrell Mitchell
Goals: Mitchell 2/2
Drop Goals: NA
1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin
1 James Tedesco, 2 Joseph Manu, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Zane Tetevano, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu