The Resilient Roosters are back in the top four after beating the St George Illawarra Dragons 40-22 on Sunday. The Roosters both regained fourth spot on the ladder and also ended Dragons’ final hopes. The injury-hit Eastern Suburbs outfit have shown remarkable resilience in the face of constant setbacks. Sunday at the Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba was no different.
Tedesco Leads by Example
James Tedesco once again put on a stellar performance. The Roosters captain and talisman ran for more than 300 metres, busted 12 tackles, and had three line breaks. He also came out with four try assists, including all of the first three. Shane Flanagan on Fox League was glowing with praise for Teddy “We talk about his running game, but his passing game (is fantastic) as well. There is nothing he can’t do.” Sydney scored three unanswered tries early on and led 14-0. Only one try was converted as the Roosters kicking woes continued.
Shortly before halftime, the Dragons hit back. Matt Dufty had the ball stripped in the act of scoring by a desperate Tedesco. The loose ball was pounced upon by stand-in hooker Josh Maguire. It was 14-6 at the break, and moments after half time it was 14-10. Zac Lomax, a rumoured target for the Roosters, set up Mikaele Ravalawa to score. Lomax then combined with Jack Bird for a length of the field try, finished off by Mat Feagai. Out of nowhere, the Dragons led 16-14.
This lead would only last four minutes. Daniel Tupou scored a quick-fire double in the corner and from there St George Illawarra fell apart. Sam Walker and Drew Hutchinson went over before Tupou sealed his hat-trick right on the siren.
The Roosters were victorious but once again suffered for it; Adam Keighran failed an early HIA, Nat Butcher injured his knee, and Siosiua Taukeiaho left the field in the final 10 minutes. Sydney coach Trent Robinson pointed towards fatigue creeping in, “we’ve had a lot of guys that played more minutes than they’ve had to play,” he said.
The Chooks are two points clear of Manly in the top four but have an inferior points difference. They face off against third-placed South Sydney next Friday, a real test. With the Sea Eagles ready to pounce should they lose to the free-scoring Rabbitohs, Robinson’s men must maintain the resilience they showed here.
Dragons Look to the Future
For the Dragons, it is a season all but over. It’s a case of a familiar pattern for St George Illawarra. A good start, firmly in the top eight, and then falling away towards the end of the season. The end of this season may be different for the Red V; they have a promising group of youngsters making their way into the first team. Teenage duo Jayden Sullivan and Talatau Amone were shining lights against the Roosters. Max Faegai scored against Sydney, and promising fullback Tyrell Sloan has made a case for a starting spot next year. Zac Lomax is just 21 but is already vastly experienced and has become an on-field leader for the Dragons.
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