Dragons outgrind Roosters at SCG - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons outgrind Roosters at SCG

By David Beniuk 08/08/2010 06:45:41 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Roosters have declared they're closing the gap on NRL ladder-leaders St George Illawarra, and say Sunday's 19-12 loss was the perfect dress rehearsal for the looming finals series.

The Dragons were at their grinding best to bury the in-form Roosters into the SCG turf, but the home side were taking plenty from the seven-point loss, a marked improvement on their 28-6 Anzac Day pounding earlier this year.

"They're the benchmark and we can take a lot of confidence out of today," Roosters skipper Braith Anasta said.

"We definitely created a lot of opportunities and let ourselves down a bit there." With the biggest crowd for a Roosters home game since 1974 on hand - 37,994 - Anasta said the game had felt like the finals come early, and that would stand his side in good stead for September.

"I think anyone could have won it for the majority of it, so it definitely had a semi-finals feel to it," he said.

"I think that was a good experience for a lot of our guys and I think we probably needed that.

"I think we can learn a lot from that game." The Roosters entered the game on the back of five-straight wins but ran into a bruising Dragons performance which left three players - Kane Linnett (knee), Jason Ryles (ribs) and Joseph Leilua (cork) - nursing injuries.

That wasn't such a bad thing either, coach Brian Smith said.

"That was another part of what we have to learn about how to deal with those things," he said.

"They're all the things that can crop up in a play-off game and you've still got to win." Smith agreed with his captain that the game had come at an ideal time of the season.

"It was never going to be a turning point if we won ... and I certainly hope it's not a turning point now that we've lost it," he said.

"A little bit will depend on how we react to it.

"We built ourselves just a little bit of a cushion, if it's possible to do that in the NRL, by winning five games in a row, so it gave us the opportunity to really treat it as a fore-runner of what ... we'll play over the coming weeks." The Dragons scored three tries to two to hand coach Wayne Bennett a victory in his 600th game as a first grade mentor.

The kings of the grind were content to run down the Roosters slowly, leaving it until the 59th minute to finally hit the front with a 50m charge by a rampaging Ben Creagh.

Five-eighth Jamie Soward nailed a 68th minute field goal to give the Dragons the breathing space to see off a Todd Carney try two minutes later which made it 13-12 and hooker Dean Young sealed the deal with a 76th minute try from dummy-half.

"We haven't been playing that bad but we haven't been getting the wins," Dragons captain Ben Hornby said.

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