A man of the match display from Ben Hunt has inspired the St George Illawarra Dragons to claim their first win on ANZAC Day in four years with a 14-12 victory over the Sydney Roosters.
Having a hand in both of his side's tries and kicking with distinction throughout, the tenacious halfback was a deserving recipient of the Ashton-Collier Spirit of ANZAC Medal as the joint venture extended their dominance in the annual fixture to 12 wins from 20 clashes.
Getting off to a strong start with Hunt kicking early to give the Dragons ascendancy, a powerful run from Francis Molo (12th minute) exposed Lindsay Collins and Sitili Tupouniua through the middle of the field to give the home side first points.
Growing in confidence after repelling several attacking raids from the Roosters - including a No Try against Sam Walker for an obstruction - second-rower Jadyn Su'A (25th minute) was on the spot to capitalise on a spilt bomb from Paul Momirovski to extend the lead out to 12-0.
Finishing the first half well on top of their opponents, an ultimately decisive late penalty goal to Zac Lomax saw the joint venture take a 14-0 lead to the change of ends.
Losing Jack Bird with an elbow injury at halftime, the Dragons woes were compounded when Su'A suffered a serious lower leg injury mere minutes into the resumption of play.
Making the Dragons pay for reckless passing on the last tackle, Tupouniua (45th minute) finished off a scintillating passage of play stemming from a break by James Tedesco on halfway.
Narrowing the margin to two points heading into the final stages of the match, teenage young gun Joseph Suaalii stepped up with a classy flick pass to send Joseph Manu (68th minute) over for his sixth try of the season.
Managing to hold off several attacking raids during the closing minutes, a late 40/20 from Hunt saw the Dragons prevail 14-12 to the delight of 35,273 supporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Next week, the Dragons return to Wollongong on Sunday afternoon against the Tigers, while the Roosters face the Bulldogs at Homebush on Saturday evening.