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Cool hand Luke ices Roosters' win over gutsy Dragons

A Luke Keary field goal with six minutes to play proved the difference as the Roosters downed the Dragons 27-26 in an enthralling Anzac Day clash at Allianz Stadium.

After the Dragons had fought back from 14 points down to level the scores at 26-26 it was the ice cool Keary who landed the crucial one-pointer to cap a superb all-round performance that earned him the Aston Collier Medal as player of the match.

The Roosters were first to settle after the emotion of the pre-game ceremony, Egan Butcher busting the line and finding skipper James Tedesco in support for the game's opening try. Joseph Suaalii's conversion made it 6-0.

The Dragons had a chance to hit back in the 11th minute but a poor pass by Talatau Amone put Jack Bird under pressure and the ball was spilled.

Five minutes later the Dragons had their try when Ben Hunt went right and found Moses Suli who offloaded for Tautau Moga to launch himself into the corner.

Tedesco streaks away on ANZAC Day

A mistake by Zac Lomax invited the Roosters back into the Dragons' red zone and big man Jared Waerea-Hargreaves laid on a perfect offload for Victor Radley to grab his first try of the season and it was 12-6 to Trent Robinson's men.

When Hunt was penalised for a high tackle in the 23rd minute Suaalii knocked over the two points and the Roosters had an eight-point advantage before Luke Keary strolled through the middle of the Red V defence from close range to make it 20-6.

Brilliant Suli sets up Moga

The Roosters looked to have a fourth try when Butcher crossed but the try was referred to the bunker and replays showed Brandon Smith was held before getting a pass away in the lead-up.

The Dragons took advantage of that reprieve when the Roosters spilled a Hunt bomb and Bird picked up the scraps to score. Lomax converted to make it 20-12.

Six minutes after the break the Roosters again went out by 14 points when Manu finished off some slick passing by Matt Lodge and Keary.

Dragons fullback Tyrell Sloan stamped his class on the game with a brilliant flick pass to Moga in the 51st minute and the winger scooted away for his second of the game.

Just two minutes later the Dragons were in again when Suli found himself in space down the right hand side and delivered the final pass for Sloan to score and the score was back to 26-22.

On the hour mark the Dragons remarkably had the lead when Moga completed his hat-trick with another acrobatic finish in the corner. Lomax was unable to convert and the score remained 26-26.

Keary gets the field goal and a one point lead

The Roosters lost Radley to the sin bin with 16 minutes to play but did not concede any points in his absence and then Keary snapped a field goal with six minutes left to make it 27-26 to the boys in Bondi Blue.

A penalty against Bird for failing to get to his feet to play the ball gave the Roosters crucial possession and from there they were able to hang on for their fourth victory of the season.

Match snapshot

  • Lindsay Collins laid the platform early for the Roosters with 77 metres from eight runs in his opening 31-minute stint.
  • Joseph Manu proved a handful for the Dragons, coming up with 10 tackle breaks for the match while Jack Bird had 11 tackle breaks for the Red V.
  • A crowd of 40,191 was on hand at Allianz Stadium for the traditional Anzac Day clash.
  • Dragons winger Tautau Moga has scored five tries in his past two games. He was then forced from the field in the 66th minute with a shoulder injury.

Keary scoots through the Dragons defence

  • Roosters skipper James Tedesco was outstanding with 21 runs for 234 metres and five tackle breaks.
  • Tyrell Sloan came of age for the Dragons with four tackle breaks, 126 run metres, a try assist and a try.
  • Roosters forward Victor Radley was sent to the sin bin in the 64th minute for high contact on Michael Molo.
  • The Roosters have won nine of their past 10 games against the Dragons.
  • Egan Butcher starred for the Roosters with 115 run metres and 36 tackles.
  • Dragons forward Jack de Belin left the field in the 52nd minute for a HIA which he passed.

Victor Radley sin binned

Play of the Game

Appearing in a record 12th Anzac Day game against the Dragons, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves showcased his ball-playing skills midway through the first half when he put Victor Radley over with a gem of a pass. In a 34-minute stint in the first half, JWH came up with 60 run metres from 10 hit-ups and a rare try assist. This was vintage Waerea-Hargreaves as he took the game up to the Red V with a string of big charges and then showed the subtlety in his game to lay on the Radley try.

'Front rowers aren't supposed to do that!'

What They Said

"I felt like we defended the midfield quite well with 12 men and then we got out of our own end and didn't have any errors in that period so it was well managed. Rads [Radley] was adamant the contact [with Molo] was head on head but unless they show more angles there I can only go on what I have seen so far. I didn't see any shoulder contact from any of the shots I've seen so far. I think Victor gets treated differently [by referees] just because of the aggression that he plays with." - Roosters coach Trent Robinson

Roosters: Round 8

"The courage they showed and the commitment they showed, there was no losers in that department. It's just a cruel game for us at the moment, we are just struggling to close games out when we get in a position to win, and we just have to stare that in the face and get better and when we do we are going to win a lot of games." - Dragons coach Anthony Griffin

Dragons: Round 8

What's Next

The Roosters have four days to recover before flying to New Zealand to face the Warriors on Sunday and then it's off to Brisbane for Magic Round where they face the Cowboys.

The Dragons also play on Sunday in Round 9, hosting the Bulldogs at WIN Stadium, before a clash with Wests Tigers in Magic Round.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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