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Fast Starting Roosters Fall Short in Spirited Battle

Despite scoring two tries in the opening eight minutes, the Sydney Roosters were defeated by the St George Illawarra Dragons 30-18 at Wentworth Park on Sunday afternoon.

Tries to Riley Meyn, Jade Anderson and Ethan Clark-Wood weren’t enough to get the Tricolours over the line against the Dragons, whose five unanswered tries in the middle of the contest haunted Easts.

The Tricolours started the contest strongly with a try in the opening four minutes after a bomb from Sam Walker was collected by Ethan Clark-Wood, who found Riley Meyn in space for the back rower to score. Walker converted to give the hosts an early 6-0 lead.

From the resulting restart, the Roosters found space on the Dragons right edge, with Meyn and Clark-Wood combining again for a 70-metre effort that resulted in the Roosters being held up over the try line.

Easts then scored from the next play when Jade Anderson crossed for his first try of the season thanks to a slick left edge shift. Walker added the extras to extend the lead to 12 points eight minutes into the contest.

The visitors hit back moments later with a long-range effort that saw Alexander Lobb cross the line as a result of some fast right-edge play starting within their own half. Jayden Sullivan converted to make the score 12-6, bringing his side back into the contest.

The quick start to the match continued in the 17th minute, as the visitors marched downfield and found themselves in Roosters territory again, where a kick from Sullivan was snatched on the try line by Lobb who touched down for his second of the game, cutting the deficit to two points.

A penalty to the away side coming out of their own half gifted them valuable field position and they made Easts pay when Savelio Tamale latched onto an offload from five-eighth Zach Herring to make the scores 16-12, giving the visitors the lead in the 26th minute. 

The Red, White and Blue looked to hit back through an attempted 40/20 by Walker that was chased from flyer Allan Fitzgibbon, putting his opposing winger under pressure. The Roosters showed defensive resolve on the following set, scrambling desperately to keep the visitors out, after a flurry of offloads from the away side wreaked havoc across the field.

Four minutes before the break, Easts' defensive line was breached again, this time by lock forward Dan Russell. Sullivan converted the try to extend the his side’s lead to 10 points.

The Dragons continued their scoring spree in the first minute of the half with a full range effort that ended in a try to captain Billy Burns, off the back of a blistering run from Haele Finau. Sullivan extended the away side’s lead to 14 points.

An error from the visitors gifted dangerous possession back to the Tricolours, who built up some pressure on their opposition, when Walker’s deft kick forced a line dropout. Easts shifted the ball in an attempt to crack the away side’s defence, but an infringement near the try line allowed St George to evade the raid. 

The Roosters continued their search to re-enter the contest with Sandon Smith making a break down the field after catching a bomb in his own half, sparking a promising attacking set for the Red, White and Blue.

Easts got themselves back into the game after a scintillating right edge play released Ethan Clark-Wood, the youngster showed some incredible speed to beat the edge defence, running 60 metres to score his third four-pointer of the season. The try was converted by Walker to make the scores 26-18 in the 63rd minute of action, setting up an exciting finale.

Just five minutes later, the Dragons found their way over through Lobb, who crossed for a hat-trick in the corner, extending the away side’s lead to 12 with only 10 minutes remaining.

Seeking a response, a kick from Walker sent Fitzgibbon flying down the right touch-line, but his pass back inside failed to find its target, handing possession back to the visitors and keeping the score at 30-18 as the final whistle sounded.

The Sydney Roosters will look to bounce back next week, when they take on the ladder-leading New Zealand Warriors in Auckland.

Sydney Roosters 18 (Jade Anderson, Riley Meyn, Ethan Clark-Wood Tries; Sam Walker 3 goals) def by St George Illawarra Dragons 30 (Alexander Lobb 3, Savelio Tamale, Dan Russell, Billy Burns tries; Jayden Sullivan 3 goals)

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters 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 Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.