NYC Round 8 v Sydney Roosters
The St George Illawarra Dragons were 38-26 winners over the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park on Monday.
The Young Dragons ran in seven tries in the highly-fought contest with winger Paora Kemp scoring twice in the victory.
Head Coach Matt Head had been forced to make several personnel changes prior to kick-off following an unexpected injury to centre Donte Efaraimo during warm-up.
Consequently, utility Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards was elevated from the interchange to fill the vacated position which allowed Israel Seufale to make his debut from the bench.
The prop was joined by fellow debutant Ali Allouche as well as prop Matt Jurd, who had also shifted to the interchange for returning teammate Hame Sele, following his stint with the Illawarra Cutters in the NSW Cup.
The home side had entered the encounter on the back of a narrow 39-32 loss to the Gold Coast Titans north of the state line last round and found themselves in another high-scoring affair following the first whistle.
The Roosters were quickest off the mark with the scoring in a toughly contested first stanza with centre Kiah Cooper weaving past his opponents to score in the 17th minute.
However, the hosts replied six minutes later with a smart shifting of the ball out wide which was ultimately collected by Tuuta-Edwards
Dragons five-eighth Jai Field converted to gift his team a 6-4 lead.
The Dragons extended their lead moments later through fullback Matt Dufty to make it 10-4.
Unfortunately, the home side were unable to maintain their advantage and allowed Roosters hooker Grant Garvey to cross the stripe just after the half hour mark.
Roosters winger Bernard Lewis levelled the game with his kick.
The Dragons prevailed with a further two four-pointers before the interval with both Jurd and winger Paora Kemp crossing the stripe before the siren.
Field managed one of his two attempts from the tee to gift his team a 20-10 lead.
The visitors had been fastest off the block again when second-half play had recommenced with centre Jake Steadman scoring in the 48th minute.
Yet, this had not deterred the home side whom responded o through the powerful pace of winger Reuben Garrick seven minutes later.
Field’s conversion was again on point to make it 26-14.
The Roosters managed to rally just shy of the hour mark when Cooper scored his second try of the game in the 58th minute.
Lewis then converted and narrowed the deficit back to 26-20.
The visitors managed to lock the scores-up once again after Garvey fell over the line for his second of the encounter.
Fortunately, in a climactic finale, both Kemp and Sele managed to outpace their markers in the closing minutes of the match to score in separate plays.
Field again converted both his attempts to make it 38-26.
St George Illawarra Dragons 38. Tries: Kemp (2), Garrick, Tuuta-Edwards, Dufty, Jurd, Sele. Goals: Field (6/7).
Sydney Roosters 26. Tries: Cooper (2), Garvey 92), Steadman. Goals: Lewis (3/5).