The Dragons had no answer for the brilliant Roosters, who ramped up their form in preparation for the finals with a 36-18 victory at Allianz Stadium.
The Roosters jumped out of the blocks with a great first half performance against the Dragons. In the seventh minute, Latrell Mitchell received the ball on the left wing, with no opportunity around. Mitchell though brushed aside Aitken and then burrowed down low to score a strong try in the corner, despite three defenders trying to deny him. He failed to convert his try.
Four tackles after the restart, Manu found space down the right sideline, kicked infield and Tedesco regathered the ball to score near the posts. Mitchell nailed the easy conversion.
The Roosters defence was too good for the somewhat panicked Dragons attack. In the 22nd minute Cronk switched the play with a pass to Tedesco, who burst through the middle defence. Tedesco then passed right to Cronk and the halfback ran away to score under the posts. Mitchell again made no mistake with the extras.
Right on halftime, the Dragons got on the board thanks solely to the vision and speed of Hunt. The half picked up the ball from dummy half and scooted past the markers and through some bad defensive reads on the tryline by the Roosters to score a good solo try. Widdop converted to reduce the Roosters lead to 10 at halftime.
The Roosters opened the scoring in the second half when Tupou took to the skies to field a cross kick but he missed it. Nightingale though tried to knock it dead, but as has happened all game, the ball bounced up for the Roosters and Mitchell followed through, cleaned up and scores. He was again unable to convert his own try.
With half an hour left, Keary went down in a tackle and his team mate fell on his knee. Keary came from the field limping badly.
In the 54###sup
minute, Latrell Mitchell bagged his third try of the game, again starting with an effortless fending away of Aitken and then bulldozing over the top of Nightingale to slam the ball down in the left corner. He then converted from touch.###>
Just after an hour had passed, the Dragons took on the line through Widdop, who put in a grubber, however it went straight into Tedesco's hands. The Roosters fullback then ran 85 metres to score a scintillating try. Mitchell's conversion attempt hits the post and is waved away.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, Graham passed to Hunt, who stepped off his right foot and then slipped through defensive line to score under the posts. Widdop quickly potted the goal.
The Roosters immediately responded when Aubusson hit Ferguson, who was running a strong line back infield, and the winger ran 30 metres to score a slick try. Mitchell added the two from almost in front.
With five minutes remaining, Hunt hit his lead runner Sims with a short flat ball and Sims barged through and over for a try. Widdop again potted the goal quickly.
The Roosters host the Cowboys at Allianz next week, while the Dragons will be back home in Wollongong with the visiting team being the Warriors.