Premiers defy injury drama's to defeat Dragons

Fighter :The revitalized Dragons Matt Dufty was always a handful for the Roosters defence with a hand in two try's .Picture NRL Imagery
Fighter :The revitalized Dragons Matt Dufty was always a handful for the Roosters defence with a hand in two try's .Picture NRL Imagery

The premiers triumphed over a brave Dragons team 26-12 on a controversial Bankwest Stadium surface on Friday night with $2 million of their playing roster sidelined.

With only 15 men and one of those playing on with a broken rib and with James Tedesco and Josh Morris being joined in the stands by Victor Radley and Sam Verrills the Roosters still had enough composure to control the game and distinguish the Dragons fire.

In a week where St George Illawarra released James Graham from the remainder of his playing contract to allow him to take up an opportunity in the English Super League, the club remained confident the current squad will cover for his loss in the short-term.

Coach Paul McGregor said the game was there for the taking, but they couldn't control the major turning point around the 50th minute but was happy there is fight in the young team.

"In 12 minutes they went up a level and we surrendered a lot of possession in that time and they showed us what a great side they are."

After losing Jacob Host in the warm-up with a hamstring injury, it was a former St George junior that caused the damage with Brett Morris, substituting for injured brother Josh who powered over for the first points after four minutes.

Trailing 10-0 but with the opposition losing players, the Dragons didn't panic and began to settle down putting some pressure on.

Matt Dufty provided a bit of magic to get the Red V on the board, throwing a cut-out pass onto Mikaela Ravalawa's chest for their first points.

It was the reborn Dufty again putting fullback Zac Lomax over giving the Dragons a 10-10 positive finish going into the break.

When the show resumed, the Roosters Luke Keary took the ball back and laid on a perfect grubber kick for Morris to score his second before taking the match-winner himself before putting the fire out of the Dragons, kicking across field for Morris's third try of the night.

The 12th placed Dragons now have to face the in form 6th placed Raiders Friday night at Campbelltown Stadium and need a win before coming back to play at their home ground.