Anzac Day win leaves Roosters crowing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Anzac Day win leaves Roosters crowing

By Steve Jancetic 25/04/2007 08:01:11 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Roosters believe they've got themselves back in the fight after breaking through for their first win of the season with an 18-4 Anzac Day victory over St George Illawarra.

Victory earned the Roosters - celebrating their centenary year - their 1000th top grade victory but still leaves the glamour club rooted to the bottom of the NRL table.

The Dragons are only one rung above them on for and against after their fifth straight loss, but Roosters coach Chris Anderson said he could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"All we've done today is get ourselves in the fight - it's taken us a while to get here and it's been a tough process," Anderson said.

"The first three games we were well off the pace, we were down on confidence.

"When you're down on confidence for one or two years you tend to lose the team thing but we've worked really hard on that.

"The excitement at training this week was the best it's been."

And it showed on the field as the Roosters out-enthused the Dragons in what was a drab affair.

It only came to life when rival five-eighths Braith Anasta and Richie Williams engaged in some verbal sparring which threatened to get out of hand before the Roosters pivot - who played his best game of the season - put the issue beyond doubt as he set-up Shaun Kenny-Dowall's match-winner early in the second half.

While the game had all the markings of an Anzac Day clash - the Last Post, the Black Hawk Chopper delivering the trophy and the FA 18 flyover, the match was a mere shadow of past April 25 clashes between these teams.

Those battles had been fought out between two sides destined for finals football, but based on the effort the closest either will get to the finals will be sitting in row G at Telstra Stadium.

Dragons coach Nathan Brown, who will now likely cop some of the heat Anderson had been receiving, said his side was never in the contest.

The visitors were left battling their way out of their own half for much of the game and compounded the problem by getting on the wrong side of referee Paul Simpkins.

"I'd love to be able to blame the officials for how we are going but I can't do that," Brown said.

"It's not their fault. We've just got to look at ourselves - the coaches and the players - we're all in it together.

"They were winning all the wrestles and they rolled the ruck very quickly on us and it was like a domino effect."

Neither side looked likely in the opening quarter of an hour before the Roosters finally ended the stalemate when a Mitchell Pearce cross-field bomb found the waiting arms of Kenny-Dowall.

The young Kiwi winger out-leapt opposite Luke MacDougall before the Roosters repeated the dose five minutes later when Sam Perrett flew high above the MacDougall again to make it 10-0.

The avalanche should have continued on the next set only for Iosia Soliola's hands to let him down as he scythed through half a gap, but Anasta made sure of the result when he capitalised on a Josh Morris knock-on on his own line to send Kenny-Dowall over for his second.

While glad to get the better of Williams, Anasta said he was happy to see the team finally give Anderson something to smile about.

"We're very relieved for him - he's a great coach," Anasta said.

"You can't keep blaming the coach all the time - you've got to look at yourselves and that's what we've done.

Already battling a crippling injury toll, the Dragons could suffer another setback with skipper Ben Hornby put on report for a lifting tackle on Perrett.

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