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Roosters Put Dragons to the Sword in Anzac Day Arm-Wrestle

The Sydney Roosters have re-claimed the Anzac Cup after defeating the St. George Illawarra Dragons 27-26 in an arm-wrestle at Allianz Stadium. 

Slotting into halfback for Round 8, Luke Keary rose to the occasion, nailing a field goal in the 73rd minute to secure the Roosters' win, cementing himself the Ashton Collier Spirit of Anzac Medal for his efforts. 

Captain James Tedesco impressed in the Anzac Day thriller also, making difficult carries out of the Roosters defensive half, running 234 metres and breaking seven tackles. While 22-year-old Egan Butcher triumphed in the absence of his brother, making 36 tackles, breaking four and assisting with one try. 

In the third minute of the game, Paul Momirovski shut down a left-edge raid, after St. George looked to exploit an overlap. Stepping up in the defensive line, the Roosters centre made a one-on-one tackle on Zac Lomax, halting the Dragons momentum as they stormed towards the try-line. 

Absorbing the early defensive pressure, the Roosters generated a try-scoring opportunity one minute later after a quick pass from Victor Radley sent Egan Butcher flying through a hole in the line. The young second-rower found his captain in support, gifting James Tedesco his first try of the season with an offload right before the line. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii kicked the conversion to give the Roosters a six-point lead. 

Tedesco Sprints Away for Anzac Day Try

The Tricolours successfully challenged a knock-on call against Radley in the seventh minute, with the senior review official deeming Jack Bird had stripped the ball from the English International's grasp. 

But the Dragons found the stripe through Tautau Moga after Ben Hunt floated a cut-out pass to the right edge, forcing the winger to tip-toe down the sideline before grounding the ball in the corner. Lomax kicked the conversion from touch to level the scores. 

Five minutes later, a sensational no-look pass from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves found Radley who split the Dragons' line before crashing over beside the uprights for his first try of 2023. Suaalii kicked his second conversion of the afternoon to put the hosts six points ahead. 

Radley Gets His First for 2023

Suaalii extended the Tricolours' lead in the 24th minute with a penalty goal after Butcher was caught around the neck by St. George's defence. 

A barnstorming run by Brandon Smith afforded the Red, White and Blue another opportunity to strike after the Roosters were awarded a set restart for a ruck infringement on Waerea-Hargreaves.

Two plays later, the ball found Luke Keary who sliced through the Dragons' defence, running behind the posts to score. Suaalii made light work of the conversion attempt, continuing his perfect day on the boot to make the score 20-12. 

A perfect passage of play by Suaalii afforded the Red, White and Blue another opportunity to strike, with the young centre powering down the sideline before finding Butcher in support.

But after originally being awarded a try, the senior review official overruled the on-field decision, deeming that Smith offloaded the ball in a completed tackle earlier in the set.

Jack Bird grabbed a loose ball and grounded it in-goal in the 33rd minute to claim the Dragons' second try of the afternoon, after a scramble for a Ben Hunt bomb resulted in two Roosters colliding mid-air. Lomax reduced the deficit to eight with the conversion. 

Five minutes into the second half, Smith produced a spirited run, wiggling his ball-carrying hand free to find Tedesco with an offload who was eventually taken down. Sending the ball left on the resuming play, five-eighth Joseph Manu muscled his way over the line to claim another try for Easts. Suaalii added the extras to extend his team's advantage to 14. 

Magnificent Manu Muscles His Way Over

Moga soared over the line for a double in the 50th minute, after Tyrell Sloan engaged the Roosters defence to open up a space on the right edge. Lomax's conversion waved away, leaving the score at 26-16. 

Within the space of two minutes, the Dragons orchestrated more points after Moses Suli opened the line, before flicking a pass to Sloan who raced away to dive behind the posts. Lomax reduced the margin to four points with a successful conversion from in-front. 

An Anzac Day hat-trick came for Moga in the exact same position as his second try, after the winger was delivered a flick pass by Suli who bumped off two defenders before letting the ball go. Suaalii sprinted towards the sideline, but his defensive effort wasn't enough to force an error in the grounding. Lomax's missed conversion left the scores locked at 26-apiece. 

Radley was sent to the sin-bin for dangerous contact in the 63rd minute, forcing the Roosters to defend tirelessly in order to stay in the game. 

With seven minutes left of the match, Manu charged towards the St. George defence before sending a long pass back to his halves partner Keary, who delivered a pin-point field goal with the weight of his team on his shoulders. 

Keary Nails It To Put The Roosters Back In-Front

Sydney Roosters 27 (James Tedesco, Victor Radley, Luke Keary, Joesph Manu tries, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 5 goals, Luke Keary 1 field goal) def St George Illawarra Dragons 26 (Tautau Moga 3, Jack Bird, Tyrell Sloan tries; Zac Lomax 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.