Roosters run riot over Dragons

The Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons went head to head in a semi final preview at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with both teams needing a win to cement themselves as true title contenders. Both teams were coming off great wins last week, as one of the best defensive teams in the NRL came up against one of the best attacking teams.

The Dragons would keep the same line up that they named on Tuesday, with Tyson Frizell coming back into the starting line up and Luciano Leilua would drop onto the bench. The Roosters would drop Kurt Baptiste, with Nat Butcher also dropping off the bench for Lindsay Collins. Isaac Liu and Ryan Matterson would swap between the field and the bench, with Liu starting.

The Roosters were the favourites to win, and they had a flying start thanks to their outside men with two tries in the first ten minutes. Latrell Mitchell would take on three defenders on the left edge and somehow manage to score in the corner, with a little doubt on whether his foot was touching the sideline. Mitchell would miss that conversion, leaving it at 4-0.

Off the next set, a fantastic flick from Joseph Manu would send Blake Ferguson screaming down the right edge with two Roosters inside him. He would snap a kick inside, which took a good bounce for James Tedesco to plant the ball down for his 6th try in 2018 and make it 10-0 after the Mitchell conversion.

Tedesco would yet again be involved with some great playmaking, this time being sent through a gap right down the middle by Luke Keary before offloading to his right to send Cooper Cronk over for his first points of the afternoon. That would make it 16-0 after just 24 minutes, with Latrell Mitchell's conversion going over the black dot.

The Dragons would get one back through Ben Hunt right on half time, running straight through some soft Roosters defenders to bring the margin back to 10 points after Gareth Widdop’s conversion.

The Roosters would  start the second half the same way that they started the first half, with Latrell Mitchell going over after the deflection from Jason Nightingale went into no man’s land in the in goal. Mitchell would miss the kick, but some enterprising play would see the centre get a hat trick after sending Euan Aitken into next week with a huge fend. He would convert that try to make it 26-6  for the Roosters with 24 to go.

The Dragons looked like they may have had a chance to score, after Luciano Leilua sent Gareth Widdop through the line, but Widdop’s kick for Matt Dufty found James Tedesco, who would run 80 metres untouched to send the game to bed with 16 minutes left. Latrell Mitchell would hit the right upright to leave it at 30-6.

It looked like Matt Dufty was held back by Jared Waerea-Hargreaves as Tariq Sims went screaming through the roosters defense, but it would not matter a a line drop out would give the Dragons another set and Ben Hunt would slice straight through some tired forwards to score his second try of the afternoon. Widdop would convert the attempt to make it 30-12 with 11 minutes left.

That comeback would end just as quickly as it started, with Mitch Aubusson sending Blake Ferguson flying through a gap larger than the scoreline, leaving Tim Lafai in the dust and turning Matt Dufty inside out to score underneath the posts to make it 36-12 with another 8 minutes to go. Tariq Sims would get a consolation try but it wouldn’t matter as the Roosters would get a 36-18 win against the Dragons. Both teams stay in the top 4, but the Roosters jump over the Dragons on points differential.



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