DRAG(O)N A COWBOY | The St George-Illawarra Dragons have claimed a narrow win over the reigning prem...
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The Sydney Roosters' Premier League outfit have continued their surge up the ladder with a commanding 36-10 victory over Manly at Aussie Stadium tonight.
The win keeps the Roosters cemented in third spot, although coach Shane Flanagan says the defending premiers can't afford to get ahead of themselves.
"There are some good signs there," Flanagan said.
"But by the same token, we have plenty we need to work on.
"We'll keep improving though - and tonight was a good step in that direction."
After a physical opening, ex-first grader Chris Walker put the Roosters ahead in the 7th minute, crossing out wide from a crisp Grant Rovelli pass. Walker converted his own try from the sideline to give the defending premiers a 6-0 lead.
Following in the footsteps of their first grade counterparts, the Premier League side played with a renewed sense of aggression in defence during the opening exchanges.
However, despite dominating possession, the Roosters struggled to post early points on the back of numerous uncharacteristic turnovers.
But the constant pressure took its toll on Manly in the 27th minute when NSW Under 19's fullback Michael Lett showed off his athleticism in reaching out to score. Walker's second successive sideline goal stretched the Roosters' advantage to 12-0.
Lett was in the thick of the action three minutes later, bursting down the right touchline before delivering a gift try to McKonkie Tauasa. Again Walker's boot was on song, piloting his third stunning sideline goal to extend the home side's lead to 18-0 - which remained the half-time score after a number of desperate ankle taps from the Sea Eagles prevented what threatened to be several breakaway tries to the home side.
Tauasa was upstaged 12 minutes into the second stanza when opposite Jared Taylor overpowered him to bring the score back to 18-4.
Any fears of an immediate comeback were silenced six minutes later when Rovelli created a gap for unstoppable prop Ben Hannant to barge over. Walker bagged his fourth goal, this time from close range, to extend the lead to 24-4.
But Manly's hopes were kept alive in the 62nd minute when Karl Johnson was rewarded for a strong game with a try out wide. Mark Lennon's goal reduced the margin to 24-10.
The result was put beyond doubt with nine minutes remaining however, when Lett raced 80m to score a scintillating try under the sticks, before Sam Perrett capped off a solid win with a try in the final minute.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 36 (Chris Walker, Michael Lett 2, McKonkie Tauasa, Ben Hannant, Sam Perrett tries; Chris Walker 5/5, Brett Firman 1/1 goals) defeated MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES 10 (Jared Taylor, Karl Johnson tries; Mark Lennon 1/2 goals) at Aussie Stadium; Friday, 3rd June, 2005; Referee: Gavin Badger.