Roosters' Defence too much for Dragons
A powerful defensive display from the Sydney Roosters has seen them run out winners over the St George-Illawarra Dragons, 34-10, in front of 40,752 fans at Allianz Stadium this afternoon.
Despite Michael Weyman and Damien Cook being ruled out through injury, the St George-Illawarra Dragons started strongly. Video referee Bernard Sutton ruled fullback Jason Nightingale to have scored in the 4th minute. Originally it looked like Matt Cooper had knocked the ball on while attempting to catch a high kick - but video footage showed he had knocked the ball backwards, and Nightingale dived over to clean up.
Soward missed the resulting kick, but that was the least of the Dragons' worries.
From that point onward, the game was almost all about the Roosters.
It was obvious that both teams had a game plan of trying to play fast, with quick play-the-balls at almost every ruck. But it was the Roosters who came out on top in that battle.
James Maloney was involved in everything, his inside balls and deft kicking game proving too much for the struggling Dragons' defence. Add to that the powerful running game of winger Daniel Tupou, some brilliant short passing from Boyd Cordner, and the pure speed of Michael Jennings, and the Dragons never looked in the game.
On at least two occasions the Dragons forced repeat sets while attacking the Roosters' line, but the Roosters' determined defence calmed wave after wave of attack.
Not to show their prowess just in defence, the Roosters put together some attacking brilliance of their own, with tries to Jennings (2), Tupou, Mitch Aubusson, Martin Kennedy and captain Anthony Minichiello. Maloney was on fire with the boot, after an early false start, kicking five goals from six attempts.
For the Dragons' prop Dan Hunt was involved heavily for all the wrong reasons, with his name appearing on the penalty sheet at least three times. Trent Merrin was also in trouble, placed on report late in the game for an apparent headslam - however replays showed he was not the player involved.
Things don't get any easier for the Dragons, returning home to face the Manly Sea Eagles next Monday Night. The Roosters have it slightly easier, facing Penrith at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
Sydney Roosters 34 St. George Illawarra Dragons 10
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Halftime Score: Sydney Roosters 22-4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - James Maloney
2 points - Boyd Cordner
1 point - Daniel Tupou
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (34)
Tries: Mitchell Aubusson, Michael Jennings (2), Anthony Minichiello, Martin Kennedy, Daniel Tupou
Conversions: James Maloney (5/6)
ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (10)
Tries: Jason Nightingale, Matt Cooper
Conversions: Jamie Soward (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Welcome to LeagueUnlimited.com's coverage LIVE from Allianz Stadium of the ANZAC Day clash between the Sydney Roosters and St. George Illawarra Dragons. The record is with the Dragons as they have won 8/11 matches on ANZAC Day against the Roosters. Kick off is slated for 4:10pm this afternoon.
Roosters, 1-17. Despite injury concerns during the week, Mitchell Pearce and Sonny Bill Williams will play today against the Dragons
Roosters: 1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. James Maloney 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sam Moa 11. Mitchell Aubusson 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Boyd Cordner
Interchange: 14. Daniel Mortimer 15. Martin Kennedy 16. Aidan Guerra 17. Luke O'Donnell
Dragons, Damien Cook and Michael Weyman has been ruled out. Will Matthews has been added to the side.
Dragons: 1. Jason Nightingale 2. Brett Morris 3. Chase Stanley 4. Matt Cooper 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Jamie Soward 7. Nathan Fien 8. Dan Hunt 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jack Stockwell 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Ben Creagh (c) 13. Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14. Bronson Harrison 15. Matt Prior 16. Jack de Belin 19. Will Matthews
Both teams take the field. The bugle sounds The Last Post, and a minute's silence is undertaken.
And the crowd remains standing, for an ANZAC day rendition of the Australian National Anthem.
We're seconds away from kick off now...
1 min: And we're underway. The Roosters kick off to Jamie Soward, and the Dragons are on the attack.
1 min: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Nathan Fien makes an unforced error.
And not a minute through the game, Nathan Fien throws a forward pass out of dummy half, and the Roosters get their first attacking opportunity of the match, from 40 metres out.
2 min: Friend makes a darting run from dummy half, and is tackled just a few metres short of the try line. In the next play, Jennings almost goes through the line, but is pulled down in some desperate defense. The kick is not a great one, and the Dragons are let off the hook.
2 min: And now the Dragons are piggy-backed out of their half by a penalty against the Roosters. Off the resulting tap, Ben Creagh is smashed in a heavy tackle.
3 min: Dragons now, two metres away from the try line, but the pass from dummy half is horrible, sailing well over Fien's head. They clean up, but lose ten metres in the process.
4 min: VIDEO REF
We're going to the video ref here - the referee thinks it's a try, but we need to check a knock on. Matt Cooper has got a hand to the ball, but video appears to show it going backwards. Decision pending...
4 min: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
And the Video Ref agrees. Try! Cooper jumps up to take a kick, but can't take the ball cleanly. He knocks it back, and Nightingale dives on the ball. Jamie Soward's attempted conversion sails across the face of the uprights.
St. George Illawarra Dragons 4-0
6 min: Soward kicks long at the end of the next set. Tupou returns the kick, and is met by three Dragons' defenders.
7 min: Dan Hunt is penalised for floating around the tackle being a pest. Warea-Hargreaves takes the tap from 30 metres out.
7 min: And Dan Hunt is again penalised for putting his hands on the ball at the play the ball. Roosters on attack only a few metres out.
8 min: Sonny Bill Williams puts on a big left foot step, and nearly catches the inside defenders napping. He's brought down, but the following play sees the Roosters turn over the ball.
8 min: Fien kicks long and low at the end of the Dragons' set, but Minichello takes the kick on the full and returns it strongly.
9 min: The crowd here is huge - hard to say from just looking around the stadium, but this could well be a record crowd.
10 min: The Dragons now get a penalty - Sonny Bill Williams clutches onto the tackled man, and refuses to let go. Both teams look to be trying to play the ball as quickly as possible.
11 min: Dan Hunt is penalised for the third time in this match - this time for a shoulder charge.
12 min: Cordner has a hit up on the right side of the field - Ben Creagh picks him up and drives him into the ground. Next play Aubusson almost slices the Dragons defense up, but is dragged down.
13 min: Mitch Pearce puts a grubber in behind the Dragons' line, and Cooper takes him out after the kick. Cooper is penalised, and the Roosters get another set.
13 min: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Mitchell Aubusson. Conversion attempt by James Maloney unsuccessful.
Mitch Aubusson takes a short pass from Boyd Cordner, and crashes over to score. Maloney misses the kick.
16 min: Off the kick-off, Waerea-Hargreaves attempts an offload, but it's messy. The referee rules that Fien has got a hand to the ball, so the Roosters get the scrum feed.
17 min: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Michael Jennings. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
Jennings scores down the left side of the field. Maloney puts on an in and away, and the a quick offload sees Michael Jennings into space. Half a gap is enough, and he sprints down field to score. Shut the gate - no one is going to catch him. Maloney is successful this time.
Sydney Roosters 10-4
23 min: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Anthony Minichiello. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
Anthony Minichiello scores this time. Some brilliant work here. First an offload sets up a second phase play. The ball is spread wide to Sonny Bill Williams, who throws an amazing around the corner pass to Mitchell Pearce backing up. Minichiello follows it up, takes a pass, and sprints downfield to score. Maloney lines up for the kick from straight in front, and puts it straight between the posts.
Sydney Roosters 16-4
24 min: The Dragons again kick off, and Waerea-Hargreaves brings the ball back. There are some amazingly fast play the balls happening here - the players don't even seem to be hitting the ground in some cases.
24 min: The Roosters put up a towering bomb, but Nightingale is up to the task, and takes the ball with ease.
24 min: A good run from Merrin, making a half-break - he had both shoulders through the line, but couldn't quite break free.
25 min: The Roosters get another penalty, from yet another ruck infringement.
26 min: Roosters on attack from 20 metres out. Waerea-Hargreaves has a hit up - a short pass to Pearce would have seen a try, but it wasn't to be.
26 min: Some desperate defence from Matt Cooper saves a certain try. The cross field kick misses everyone, comes down to the Roosters, and is flicked out wide to the right. But Cooper wraps up the attacker and drags him to the ground.
27 min: And the Dragons are helped out of their half by a penalty.
28 min: Dragons on attack now - they haven't spent a lot of time at the Roosters end of the field in the past 15 minutes, but they're here now. Martin Kennedy is then penalised for being all over the tackled player.
29 min: Dragons looking to keep themselves in the game with a try here - they spread the ball left, and then right, but are unable to break the line. However, Michael Jennings is penalised for being offside - not having his foot on the tryline in defence. The Dragons get another set.
31 min: The Dragons dance around with the ball for a while, and seem unable to find a clean option. In the end, Stanley puts a kick in behind the line, and the Dragons force a line dropout. Maloney kicks 50m on the fly, and Prior returns the ball strongly - and then manages an offload. Dragons just outside the 20m line.
32 min: Merrin does a bit of a jink on the spot - but it's pointless, as he just gets tackled. The Dragons waste another set, and the Roosters get a chance to attack.
33 min: In BREAKING NEWS, Steve Price has had his contract extended for another season, with a one year option.
33 min: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Martin Kennedy. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
The Roosters get a penalty, and work the ball downfield. The Dragons defence looks scrambled, and in the end Kennedy crashes over a wrong-footed defender and puts the ball down right near the posts. Maloney adds the extras in an easy kick.
Sydney Roosters 22-4
36 min: The Roosters seem to be making ground at will here - there are line breaks and half breaks all over the park.
38 min: Martin Kennedy gets penalised now, and is absolutely filthy with himself. The Dragons bring the ball towards the halfway line, and will look to score a late try in this half to keep them in the game.
39 min: The Dragons seem to have no direction in attack at the moment - five tackles and all they can come up with is a bomb into the in goal. Tupou returns the ball from the 20m tap, and is picked up and slammed into the ground.
40 min: And we go to half time at 22-4, the Roosters comfortably in front, and the Dragons appearing not to have any answers in defense. Join us shortly for the second half.
40 min: And we're back underway in the second half here - the Dragons kick off and Martin Kennedy has the first hit up of the second half.
41 min: Not a lot happening in this half yet. The Dragons get their first set of the second half, and it's more of the same from the Roosters - solid defense, right up in the face of the Dragons' attackers.
42 min: Roosters on attack - Pearce kicks high on the last, looking for Tupou. Tupou flies high, but can't quite reel in the ball. Dragons get the ball.
43 min: A strong run from Tupou, beating three defenders before being wrestled to the ground.
44 min: Steve Price sits on the sideline and watching his team, wearing his Grandfather's medals, and safe in the knowledge that his future is wrapped up for at least the next season.
45 min: Dragons on attack - and look like scoring in the left side of the field, but 13 desperate Roosters' defenders prevent the try. The Dragons get a penalty, and have a repeat set.
46 min: The Dragons finally look to have learnt how to attack - with some inside passes, some angles, some decoy runners - but it proves no match for the Roosters' defense. The Dragons do manage to force a line dropout though.
47 min: And it's a monster of a dropout from Maloney - covering almost 70 metres on the fly. The Dragons return the kick - the ball goes to ground, but the Dragons manage to recover.
48 min: Spoke too soon - the very next play the Dragons knock the ball on, and the Roosters' defense is rewarded.
50 min: VIDEO REFEREE
And the Roosters pull off another miracle play. We're going to the Video Referee - the referee thinks it's a try, but just wants to be sure.
51 min: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Daniel Tupou. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
Maloney puts a little chip kick over the top of the Dragons defensive line, and the bounce is a horror - coming directly back towards the Roosters' chasers. A couple of scrambling passes to the left of the field sees the ball reach Tupou, and from that sort of range, he is simply too difficult to stop. Maloney once again adds the two points.
Sydney Roosters 28-4
53 min: Warea-Hargreaves is back on the field, and returns the kick off. Two plays later, Mortimer runs the ball forward, and gains a penalty for his team. Yet another penalty against the Dragons for standing out of the tackle with their hands all over the ball.
54 min: Only metres out from the tryline, Maloney turns the ball back inside, but the defensive wraps up his inside runner. On the last the Roosters put a grubber in behind the line, and Nightingale helps it dead. He wasn't taking any chances.
54 min: The dropout from Soward isn't great.
55 min: And the Dragons are penalised now for stripping the ball in the tackle. Price needs to tape his players' hands together so they can't get in the way of tackles...
56 min: Aubusson tries to offload, but loses the ball from his outstretched arm.
57 min: Soward seems to be doing a lot of crabbing today.
57 min: The Dragons made the most ground in one tackle that they have all game. Unfortunately, it was backwards - the result of a terrible pass.
59 min: The Roosters have had almost two thirds of the possession over the past few minutes - the Dragons are getting absolutely starved of the ball.
59 min: The Dragons kick high on the last - Minichiello jumps high to take it, and is knocked from underneath. There didn't look to be too much in it, but Nightingale is penalised for a mid-air tackle.
61 min: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Michael Jennings. Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
And Michael Jennings scores another try. Friend kicks in behind the line on the left of the field, and Jennings' pure speed means he is first to the ball. The Dragons simply couldn't turn and chase fast enough, and Jennings dives over. Maloney with the kick from 10 metres in from touch on the left hand side... and he puts it between the uprights.
Sydney Roosters 34-4
61 min: Trent Merrin is placed on report for driving the Roosters' player's head into the ground. Hard to see without a replay, but I don't even think he was the player involved!
64 min: The Roosters look to have scored another try, but the pass from Maloney to Tupou is ruled to have gone forward.
65 min: Roosters' home game record crowd here tonight - 40752.
67 min: Maloney kicks deep into the Dragons in goal area. Vidot watches it like a hawk, with his fingers firmly crossed. He can hear Tupou crashing through behind him, but the ball trickles over the dead ball line on the last bounce.
69 min: A bit of back and forth at the moment, not really any solid attacking play...
70 min: Suddenly, Morris makes a massive break, and runs almost 40 metres down field. The ball is stolen from him over the tryline, so it's a line dropout. Two Dragons players were outside Morris catching a cold. One pass and they had a certain try.
72 min: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Matt Cooper. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
And finally, the Dragons have a try. Cooper chases a kick through, and dives over the try line. Sowards converts, but I think the Dragons will struggle to run down the Roosters in the remaining 8 minutes...
Sydney Roosters 34-10
75 min: The Roosters lose the ball in a tackle, and the Dragons get another attacking opportunity 30 metres out from the Roosters' line. Soward attempts to put a chip in for Morris, but the ball sails over his head, over the sideline, and almost cleans up a cameraman. Nice.
76 min: Only four minutes remaining now. The Roosters are on the attack down the left of the field. They pass wide to the left looking for Jennings, but a forward pass sees the Dragons get the scrum feed.
77 min: Soward turns the ball inside to Stockwell, who milks a penalty - the Roosters penalised for holding down in the tackle. The penalty count for ruck infringments in this game is huge.
77 min: The Roosters strip the ball from the Dragons' attacker, but the ball bounces forward into Mitch Aubusson, and is ruled a knock on. The Dragons get another set, and manage to force a line drop out.
78 min: And again the Roosters are penalised, this time for a shoulder charge. Mitchell Pearce is the culprit this time.
79 min: VIDEO REFEREE PENDING
Soward darts infield, and the chips the ball left looking for Morris. The referee thinks it's a no-try, but we'll double check.
79 min: NO TRY
From the Video, Morris has had an airswing, and the ball goes dead. It's a 20m restart to the Roosters.
80 min: And O'Donnell is tackled for the last time in the match - the Roosters running out winners, 34 points to 10. For the Roosters, Jennings, Tupou and Maloney were great - for the Dragons, there were less impressive performances, but Cooper held his head high in defense, as always, and Nightingale didn't do too much wrong either.