The annual Anzac Day clash between the Roosters and Dragons was met with bleak weather at the Sydney Football Stadium but also some great football, where the Dragons took the game out 24 points to 10. Strong defence overshadowed the weather affected error count and the 34,976 strong crowd were treated to a strong contest between the 2011 grand final opponents.
Roosters dominated possession and field position in the first half but couldn't get past strong St. George Illawarra defence which held firm keeping them off the scoreboard in the first half. The only points of the first half came from a Roosters error failing to clean up a Soward bomb on the line allowing Gasnier to score in the 23rd minute, Soward converted and the Dragons took their 6 nil lead into the interval.
The second half produced points early after a Roosters' error in the first set of the half. Gasnier put Boyd in to score and with Soward's conversion Dragons were up 12 -0. Roosters hit back in the 53rd minute after a repeat set with Anasta putting Carney in to score in the corner to open the scoring for the Roosters. More scoring was opened minutes later when Brett Morris put on his first try of the 2011 season.
Soward converted but the try came at a cost, Boyd's break in the lead up being his last contribution to the match, coming off with a hamstring injury in the sixty first minute. Roosters managed to produce a try against the run of play minutes later after Nuuasala dropped a ball near the Roosters' line, Pearce intercepted a wayward pass from Ben Creagh to streak 70 metres down the field to score untouched. Anasta landed his first conversion of the afternoon to get the Roosters back within 8 points of the Dragons.
Despite some strong attacking plays, Roosters could not produce anymore and Ben Creagh earnt retribution for throwing the intercept pass, intercepting a Minichiello pass and going on an almost identical run to that of Pearce to score a try of his own. Soward completed a perfect afternoon with the boot, taking the Dragons to a 24 point to ten lead which they took to full time, inflicting a third straight defeat on the Roosters.
Sydney Roosters 10 were defeated by St George Illawarra Dragons 24
National Rugby League - Round 7 - Monday April 25, 2011 4:00pm
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Ricky MacFarlane
Halftime: Sydney Roosters 0 St George Illawarra Dragons 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jamie Soward (4 Conversions)
2 Points - Jason Nightingale
1 Point - Martin Kennedy
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (10)
Tries: Mitchell Pearce, Justin Carney
Conversions: Braith Anasta (1/2)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (24)
Tries: Ben Creagh, Mark Gasnier, Darius Boyd, Brett Morris
Conversions: Jamie Soward (4/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Afternoon and welcome to the Sydney football Stadium for the annual Anzac Day clash between the Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons. Extra feeling has been added to this game by it's billing as the grand final rematch, this being the first meeting of these two sides since last year's grand final. Toyota Cup was won by the Dragons 18-16.
Proceedings are underway here at the Sydney Football Stadium, the Red Berets have landed in the ground, followed minutes later by the delivery of the ANZAC Day Cup via Black Hawk helicopter. Commemorative ceremony commences shortly before kickoff takes place at 4:00pm.
TEAM CHANGES: Sydney Roosters centre Mitch Aubusson moves to the 2nd row, Tom Symonds is out. Jason Ryles also out, Masoe replaces him in the engine room. New centre is Phil Graham, new bench replacement is Tinirau Arona.
Dragons hooker Nathan Fien and prop Michael Weyman will come off the bench, replaced in the starting side by Dean Young and Trent Merrin.
1 min: Referee Maxwell blows time on and Anasta eventually kicks off from the Sydney Cricket Ground end.
2 min: Strong set from the Dragons completed with a good kick from Soward, cleaned up well by Justin Carney.
3 min: Equally good set from the Roosters, Anasta bombs on the last, Boyd does well to take it, beying for a penalty, not coming.
4 min: Soward tests Minichiello with low trajectory kick, Minichiello cleans up.
4 min: PENALTY to the Roosters, should find some good attacking position.
5 min: Not a great set from the Roosters on the attack, Pierce bombs this time and it looks too easy for Morris.
6 min: PENALTY to the Dragons, and they find great field position as a result.
7 min: Nice raid from the Dragons, couldn't find the line and proceed to lose the ball.
8 min: PENALTY to the Roosters on halfway, should be a great chance for them to attack here.
9 min: Roosters run it on the last before being forced to change over.
10 min: Rampaging work from the Dragons and Soward finds touch ten out from the Roosters line to take the game back to the other end of the field.
12 min: Strong set from the Roosters, tit for tat, Roosters find touch ten out from the Dragons' line. These scrums taking some time.
13 min: Matt Cooper loses the ball in a tackle to force another scrum. Great chance for the Roosters to attack from 20 out.
14 min: Roosters running the ball on the last again, but strong Dragons defence keeps them out to force the changeover.
15 min: Soward has a crack at 40/20 but it didn't have the angle on it so it goes straight down to Minichiello.
16 min: Roosters use the boot in their last play, and Morris takes it on the fly in goal for a 20 metre restart.
17 min: Entertaining set from the Dragons, break the Roosters line, but Roosters defence read it well enough to keep them out. Soward eventually goes to the air, but well taken in goal by Minichiello to get a 20 metre tap.
18 min: End to end football, Anasta's boot goes touch in goal for another 20 metre restart.
19 min: Soward boots the ball back against the grain, Carney attacks a ball he shouldn't have and drops it to invite the Dragons to attack handing them a scrum about ten out.
21 min: Dragons with some good attacking play, get a repeat set forcing the line drop out.
22 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Dragons TRY.
24 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons! Soward puts in a beautifully placed bomb right on the goal line. Justin Carney can't handle it under pressure from Nightingale challenging for it and Gasnier picks it up to score. Conversion from Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
25 min: Dragons hitting up well, making it well over halfway in the set before Soward tests Minichiello who takes it comfortably.
26 min: Roosters not offering a lot in response and Anasta's boot at the end goes dead in goal.
26 min: Weyman comes onto the field and knocks on with his first touch.
27 min: Nate Myles spills the ball at the line to hand the ball right back.
27 min: Ben Creagh knocks on to give the ball straight back, weather starting to affect the ball handing.
28 min: Good attacking set from the Roosters, but met with some great defence, Anasta's boot easily read and cleaned up by Nightingale.
29 min: Another error, this time a forward pass, still in good attacking position for the Roosters.
30 min: Dragons defending their line really well and Roosters lose the ball at the line.
31 min: PENALTY to the Dragons to help them out of their end of the field.
32 min: Dragons really piling on the errors, another forward pass.
32 min: PENALTY to the Roosters, Weyman giving some lip and referee Alan Shortall asserting some authority out there.
33 min: Justin Carney with a clean run at the line drops it cold.
33 min: PENALTY to the Dragons, Roosters also not doing themselves many favours.
34 min: PENALTY to the Roosters, appears to be a penalty against the man playing the ball.
35 min: Roosters attacking the Dragons' line, Anasta's bomb taken beautifully by Nightingale in the air.
36 min: Frustrations creeping into the Dragons who have been frustrated by the referee.
37 min: Jake Friend goes for a 40/20 but puts too much on it.
38 min: Weak set from the Dragons, with an equally weak 40/20 attempt from Fein at the end of it.
38 min: Roosters hitting up harder but last tackle options weilding similar result.
39 min: Dragons appear to be holding out for the interval, not trying much with the ball in these last ten minutes of the half.
40 min: Roosters take their last throw of the dice and almost produce something but Minichiello can't hold onto it to ground it.
40 min: The much anticipated half time hooter blows and both sides find their ways back to the sheds.
41 min: Time back on and the second half is underway.
41 min: And Roosters lose the ball in their first set of the half, Roosters aking for the video referee to check for a strip, not happening. A chance for the Dragons here.
43 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons. Gasnier cuts back inside, breaks the Roosters' line and puts Boyd in to score. Soward converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12-0
44 min: Perfect kick from Soward drills the ball to come out inches from the tryline.
45 min: Roosters not offering anything and to worsen their pain Kenny-Dowall kicks it on the fly from halfway.
47 min: Morris knocks it on and Roosters are off the hook.
48 min: A better set from the Roosters, but again Anata's boot goes dead in goal for a Dragons 20 metre tap.
50 min: Good kick by Fein, equally good return by Kenny-Dowall taking a difficult ball.
51 min: Dragons fail to clean up at the back, Beau Scott eventually picks it up and subsequently knocks it on.
52 min: Good atatck from the Roosters, well read by the Dragons, but Anasta's bomb earns the Roosters a repeat set forcing the line drop out.
54 min: TRY
TRY to the Roosters! Brilliant pick up from Anasta puts Justin Carney in to score in the corner. Conversion from Anasta unsuccessful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12-4
55 min: Roosters make it to halfway before Pierce kicks a ball into touch.
56 min: Players taking a long time to get to this scrum.
57 min: Soward gifts the ball to Minichiello with his boot and Mini brings it up to his 30 metre line.
58 min: Inventive set from the Roosters who are really challenging now, run the ball on the last before they eventually knock it on.
59 min: Fein goes for a 40/20, doesn't make it, but still a great boot and Minichiello is tackled with it on his ten.
60 min: Roosters have two goes at their sixth tackle option, but neither wield any points as Nightingale cleans up with ease.
61 min: Darius Boyd makes a big break before Miniciello stops him and he gets creamed, but he has found some good field postion for the Dragons.
63 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons. Brett Morris is put in for his first try of season 2011. Soward converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-4
64 min: Darius Boyd getting some treatment on his hamstring, unlikely to come back out.
66 min: Dragons doing it easily out there now, whilst Rooster have their work cut out for them.
67 min: Frank-Paul Nuuasala drops it to invite the Dragons back in.
69 min: TRY
TRY to the Roosters! Pearce pounces on a bad pass and races 70 odd metres to score. Anasta converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-10
70 min: Roosters re-energised by Pearce's effort, putting in a strong set, but last tackle option goes straight to Nightingale.
71 min: Dragons hitting just as hard really taking ti to the Roosters.
72 min: Nightingale foing great work out the back for the Dragons.
72 min: Merrin passes a ball straight into Roosters' hands. Great opportunity for the Roosters from 30 out.
73 min: Leilua bundled into touch by some great Dragons defence.
74 min: Young kicks the ball over the top of Minichiello who collides with Leilua both after it, luckily regathered by Minichiello.
75 min: Ben Creagh intercepts a Minichiello pass and runs the length of the field.
77 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons. Ben Creagh produces one almost identical to Pearce's effort, a great chase from Kennedy cannot catch him and he is in. Conversion from Soward successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24-10
78 min: Cheeky work by Soward soccering toward the corner, but Graham cleans up.
79 min: Roosters trying but can't produce.
80 min: Forward pass offers Roosters a shot at some consolation points.
80 min: Knocked back from the back of the scrum and then knocked on a few plays later by Mitchell Pearce.
80 min: With that final error the hooter blows and that will be all she wrote. Dragons take the game 24 points to 10.