Cock-a-doodle do, but we've lost our Willie!

The Sydney Roosters have secured their first Top 4 position since 2004 and a home final after defeating the St George Illawarra Dragons 10-0 in a lacklustre match at Sydney Football Stadium.

A match played in absolutely horrid weather, the highlights included several dropped balls and knock ons as players struggled to gain control of the slippery ball in heavy rain.

The match doesn't come without a terrible toll for the Roosters, who will finish the season without controversial forward Willie Mason. Mason went down early in the first half after two heavy knock to his right knee, with the initial diagnosis revealing that he has caused severe damage to his anterior cruciate ligament. If confirmed, he will certainly miss the rest of this season, the World Cup and even possibly a good part of season 2009.

The first half was filled with chances for both sides, but it was still nil-all at the break with both teams unable to convert some chances into points. It was the first match in almost 12 months where we have seen the scores locked at nil-all at the half time break.

It took 47 minutes for the Roosters to cross over for the first points, with returning fullback Anthony Minichiello taking the honours.

12 minutes later, newly appointed skipper Braith Anasta crossed for the last try of the match. He alongside Craig Fitzgibbon, were standout players for the Roosters and undoubtedly lifted to a new level in a match the Roosters desperately wanted to win.

The Roosters were outstanding in defence and performed well under pressure to keep the Dragons out and prevent them from posting any points. They muscled up on their own goal line and played as if their season depended on them keeping the Dragons scoreless for the match, and while the Dragons didn't play that badly, they failed to convert opportunities when they mattered.

Both sides will be looking to prepare next week for their finals campaign, but tonight was the last we will see of Willie Mason for a while.

Match Details Sydney Roosters 10 def St George Illawarra Dragons 0 Round 26 - Friday September 5th, 2008 7:35pm Venue: Sydney Football Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy, Brett Suttor Video Referee: Paul Simpkins Half Time: 0 all Crowd: 14,127

Sydney Roosters 10 Tries: Anthony Minichiello, Braith Anasta Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (1/2)

St George Illawarra Dragons 0 Goals: Mark Gasnier (0/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Braith Anasta (Roosters) 2 Points: Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters) 1 Point: Lopini Paea (Roosters)

Leagueunlimited.com Live Commentary ROOSTERS: 1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Brent Grose 3. Setaimata Sa 4. Sia Soliola 5. Sam Perrett 6. Braith Anasta 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Mark O'Meley 9. Riley Brown 10. Nate Myles 11. Willie Mason 12. Anthony Tupou 13. Craig Fitzgibbon Interchange: 14. Lopini Paea 15. David Shillington 16. Mitchell Aubusson 17. James Aubusson DRAGONS: 22. Brett Morris 2. Wendell Sailor 3. Mark Gasnier (c) 4. Matt Cooper 5. Josh Morris 6. Ben Rogers 7. Ben Hornby 8. Dan Hunt 9. Stuart Webb 10. Jason Ryles 11. Lagi Setu 12. Ben Creagh 13. Dean Young Interchange: 14. Matt Prior 15. Kirk Reynoldson 16. Beau Scott 17. Ben Ellis

Greetings league lovers. Ashley here to help you through the first of two big games of rugby league tonight. A big match tonight between these two teams with the Roosters assured a home final if they can manage to scrape out a win here tonight. They have talked a lot in the past week about their recent form slump, and its time they put it into action and show if they will be any threat this finals series.

Should be a thrilling match tonight. Has been raining all day in Sydney and players will need to be extra careful with their handling.

Currently watching the show 'Taken Out' on Channel Ten before the match starts... I think my IQ has just gone down 10 points, which is a shame because its now down to 9.

Will keep you all updated on anything that comes to hand pre-match. Stay tuned, and don't forget to check out our forums tonight and discuss the match: http://forums.leagueunlimited.com

Team Changes:

Roosters: Cherington into the side Tupou to the bench Mitch Aubusson OUT Dragons: Brett Morris to Fullback Nightingale OUT

Players running out now. Good to see Anthony Minichiello back on the field too.

0 min: And we're off... and the worst kick off I've ever seen.

1 min: PENALTY - Dragons Roosters penalised for laying down too long in the ruck. The rain absoltely pelting down.

3 min: PENALTY - Roosters - Dragons penalised for being offside early in the tackle count. Roosters have a good chance here early.

3 min: ... and O'Meley has dropped it first tackle in these wet conditions. We'll be seeing plenty of that tonight.

6 min: The Roosters have played well at the moment in this horrible conditions. I don't think we'll see anything spectacular tonight, just smart play from both sides in an attempt to grind out some points.

8 min: The Roosters will get a repeat set here from a drop out. Mitchell Pearce has been stamping his authority early on in this match. On another note, not looking forward to seeing this crowd figure... Barely anyone there because of this weather.

9 min: Willie Mason is limping and appears to be pretty badly injured. Seems to be a knee or an ankle, he can't stand up at the moment. Play has now been stopped. Watching the replay, he grimaced as he was twisted in the tackle... Not looking good for big Willie.

10 min: Well Mason has limped to the scrum and made a tackle. He looked OK because he has copped another knock to the knee and is down again. He'll have to come off the field now... And as I type that, Jason Ryles has copped an injury here as well.

10 min: Mark O'Meley has been put on report for a high shot on Jason Ryles. Penalty to the Dragons as Ryles leaves the field too. The Dragons, 42m out are taking a shot at goal knowing that parts will be hard to come by.

12 min: Gasnier misses the shot for goal- still locked at 0-0.

13 min: Dragons have lost the ball in a good position here. Handling has been poor in these conditions and I get the feeling its not going to get much better.

14 min: PENALTY - Roosters Dragons caught offside. Roosters get a piggy back up the field.

14 min: Fantastic work by both teams there. The Roosters get over the line but the Dragons manage to hold Fitzgibbon up.

15 min: Roosters will get another set here from the drop out. Ben Rogers has slid on the wet turf in the in goal and has shouldered an advertising board as he fell over. He looks to be in some pain as well but has got to his feet.

17 min: Sam Perrett makes some good metres from a kick return. Roosters in fantastic position here to score first points.

17 min: The pressure is released as the Roosters lose the ball near the try line. The Roosters are blowing up saying Anasta was tackled high, and it looks like he was hit pretty high. Should be a penalty this. ... amazingly no penalty.

20 min: News is that Willie Mason has done some damage to the ACL in his right knee. He won't be back this season if this is correct.

20 min: ANOTHER Roosters player is down. Cherington has been hit hard from behind by his own team-mate in a tackle, and to make matters worse, play wasn't stopped and three men fell on him in a tackle as he lay down on the field injured.

21 min: Paea makes a good break early in the count here. Roosters in a good position here again, they need to convert this opportunity.

22 min: Roosters muscle up in defense and the Dragons fail to get the ball away o the last tackle. Roosters now only 30 metres out here on the first tackle.

23 min: PENALTY - Dragons Roosters player penalised for a flop after they narrowly miss opening their account tonight. Dragons get out of the danger zone.

25 min: Dragons putting a lot of pressure on the Roosters here with some strong offence. More players down here after a terrible looking head clash here. Sa appears to have knocked Creagh off the ball illegally and he is out cold. We're taking a closer look at it now but it should be a penalty.

27 min: Drop out for the Roosters here. Unbelievable that the referees have not penalised Sa for a few minutes ago.

29 min: Dragons drop the ball cold just 20 metres out from the Roosters line. What are the odds of it being nil-all at half time?

31 min: Trying to play the ball too fast, the Roosters have lost the ball on the first tackle and give the Dragons possession only 30 metres out.

32 min: PENALTY - Dragons The Dragons will get another set here close to the line, but I think they'll take the two points with this penalty considering points are so hard to come by.

... Well I'm wrong. They are going for the try line.

34 min: Unbelievable defence here from the Roosters. They have managed to keep the Dragons out. That was just simply stunning to watch.

HALF TIME Roosters - Zip Dragons - Nada

Well, it hasn't been the most exciting game of football so far. The weather obviously plays a factor in that, but it means the second half should be fantastic as teams will be desperate to open their accounts. Even one point could be the difference here.

The big news is obviously the injuries so far, and Willie Mason's season appears to be over after injuring his knee twice in a few tackles. Will keep you updated.

It appears Mason will miss the remainder of the season and the World Cup. Unsure how bad his ACL is, but he won't be playing in the finals. A massive blow for the Roosters.

40 min: We're underway here again.

45 min: Possible Try here for the Roosters. Being checked.

47 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Minichiello scores in his first game back for the Roosters, and we are underway with the scores. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Sydney Roosters 6-0

52 min: The Roosters muscle up in defence again and stop the Dragons from crossing for their first. Fantastic pressure and a big opportunity missed by the Dragons.

59 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Bizarre passage of play there. A dragons player loses the ball in their own 30, turning the ball over to Braith Anasta who picks it up and scoots away for the Rooster's second try. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon unsuccessful. Sydney Roosters 10-0

63 min: For those asking, no I haven't fallen asleep... there really is just not a lot to write about at the moment.

67 min: Still going back and forth, back and forth... knock on here, knock on there. Nothing really exciting to report on. Looks like the Roosters will win this game though with the clock running down

69 min: Dragons blow another good scoring opportunity with a pass worthy of being a part of the NFL. Miles forward.

71 min: The Dragons get the ball off a drop out here, but they have dropped the ball on the first tackle here. The Dragons have blown too many opportunities to put points on the board.

73 min: Clock winding down here and the Roosters are just plugging away to keep the lead. Dragons need to do something special if they are to have any chance here.

79 min: About 6 dropped balls in the past few minutes. This should be the last scrum. The Roosters will make the Top 4 for the first time since 2004 and get a home final. A bit of scuffle here between O'Meley and Ryles in the scrum.

79 min: Brilliant! A scrum penalty with the Dragons being ridiculous in the last scrum of the match.

FULL TIME Roosters - 10 Dragons - 0

A great win here for the Roosters in a very lacklustre match filled with drop balls and errors. They will get a home final as a result.

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