Storm claim victory in match of the year
9 hours ago | Robert Crosby
A hat-trick from Brett Morris has seen the Sydney Roosters down the St George Illawarra Dragons 26-12 in a match marred by injuries.
Losing Victor Radley and Sam Verrills in the first 20 minutes with suspected ACL tears - set to rule the pair out for the remainder of the season - the Roosters showed their premiership-winning credentials to record their fifth straight win following the season resumption.
Coming out of the sheds full of energy, Morris (4th minute) - filling in for his twin brother at left centre - crossed for the opening try of the evening.
Losing Radley in the following set, the Roosters recovered to produce one of the tries of the season through Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (18th minute), after fullback Joseph Manu fielded his own bomb before flick passing to send his prop over for a 10-0 lead.
Starting the match ahead of Jake Friend after being limited to less than 80 minutes of game time this season, hooker Sam Verrills was taken from the field with the assistance of two trainers to leave the reigning premiers to play out the remainder of the match with 15 men.
Taking advantage of their opponent's misfortune, the Dragons levelled the scores at 10-all courtesy of two brilliant passes from Matt Dufty to send Mikaele Ravalawa (23rd minute) and Zac Lomax (26th minute) over for four-pointers.
Taking the lead momentarily after halftime with a penalty goal from Lomax, the Roosters responded through Morris (51st minute) following some lovely second phase play that saw the ball move from sideline to sideline.
With both sides trading sets for much of the second half, Luke Keary produced two moments of brilliance by taking on the line from close range (65th minute) before securing the win with a well-weighted chip to send Morris (76th minute) over for his hat-trick.
Temporarily moving into second position following the win, the Roosters have the option of recalling on-loan forward Poasa Fa'amusili from the Warriors to cover for the losses of Radley and Verrills.
Next week, the Roosters face the Storm on Thursday night, while the Dragons will travel to Canberra on Friday evening to tackle the Raiders.
Sydney Roosters 26 - St George Illawarra Dragons 12
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Halftime Score: Sydney Roosters 10 St George Illawarra Dragons 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
2 points - Brett Morris
1 points - Matthew Dufty
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (26)
Tries: Brett Morris (3), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Luke Keary
Conversions: Kyle Flanagan (3/5)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (12)
Tries: Mikaele Ravalawa, Zac Lomax
Conversions: Zac Lomax (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Zac Lomax (1/1)