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Roosters Defeat Dragons In Trial
The Sydney Roosters have defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons 16-12 at WIN Stadium this evening in the Dragons second and final pre-season match.
Both teams scored three tries with goal kicking being the difference in the wet and slippery conditions.
A crowd of 6722 braved the weather and saw a number of players participate with both Nathan Brown and Ricky Stuart using over 20 players throughout the game in an attempt to finalise combinations before the NRL season begins.
Representative stars Trent Barrett, Jason Ryles and Braith Anasta were missing from the clash with all expected to the play in the opening round of the Telstra Premiership in less than two weeks.
The Dragons started the game well with fullback Clint Greenshields crossing the line in just the third minute after receiving an inside pass from Mark Gasnier. Wes Naiqama was unsuccessful with the conversion.
The Roosters then dominated possession for the remainder of the first half scoring the next 16 points to head into the break with the 12 point lead.
Centre Ryan Cross scored the opening two tries for the Roosters in the 7th and 35th minutes. Cross finding holes in the Dragons defence on both occasions and taking defenders with him over the line.
Craig Fitzgibbon converted the opening try and Amos Roberts was unsuccessful with the conversion after the second.
In the final minute before half time Roosters replacement Jamie Soward found himself on the end of a Brett Finch kick to score in the left hand corner with Roberts successful on this occasion making the score 16-4 at half time.
While the Roosters were kept scoreless in the second half, Wes Naiqama scored twice for the Dragons with both he and Aaron Gorrell unsuccessful in their conversion attempts.
Naiqama?s first try in the 53rd minute was a reward for his defensive efforts in keeping the Roosters trapped inside their own goal line as he crossed the line on the Dragons? second play after the Dragons received the line drop-out.
Mark Gasnier broke through the Roosters line on half way and ran through the centre of the field, delivering a pass to the flying Naiqama who scored his second try in the 72nd minute.
Coach Brown indicated that he was pleased with the improvement in his side from last weekend, but indicated that there was still work to be done.
?There were some good signs out there for us, especially in the first 20 minutes,? said Brown. ?We came through the game injury free and have a good indicating of where we are at and know what needs to be done in readiness for the season.
?We lost a bit of direction when we changed some personnel around and we still need to work on our ball control but these are things that we can fix,? added Brown.
Stand in skipper Ben Hornby agreed there was room for improvement in the Dragons.
?The conditions were not great out there, especially for the halves,? said Hornby. ?But we did some good things and know there is a way to go to where we want to be at?.
The Dragons play the Tigers in the opening round of the Telstra Premiership on Friday, March 10.
ROOSTERS 16 Tries: Ryan Cross 2, Jamie Soward; Goals Craig Fitzgibbon, Amos Roberts. DRAGONS 12 Tries: Clint Greenshields, Wes Naiqama 2.
DRAGONS 18 Tries Brett Morris, Beau Ryan 2, Goals Reece Blayney 3 defeated NEWTOWN JETS 12 Tries: Pierce Sapsford, Lelea Paea, Nigel Plum
DRAGONS 30 Tries: Matt Seamark, Dan Hunt, James Keelan, James Grehan, Lewis McPhail; Goals Nathan Wynn 3, Blake Dureau 2. ROOSTERS 28 Tries: Shaun Foley, Sam McCartney, Mitchell Pearce 2, Mitch Aubusson; Goals: Shaun Foley, Jeremy Gordon