DRAGONS DONE

THE Roostersextinguished whatever faint finals hopes St George Illawarra had with an emphatic 42-6win at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, reducing the Dragons’ big win over Cronulla last week to a mere blip on the radar.
Nanjing Night Net

DONE AND DUSTED: The Dragons were blasted out of finals contention on Sunday, going down 42-6 to the Roosters at Allianz Stadium. It means they’ll go without finals action for the fourth time in five seasons. Picture: Getty Images

Coming off their best performance of the season, the Dragons looked sluggish from the get-go to trail 14-6 at the break before being blown off the paddock in the second stanza.

Daniel Tupou had a double either side of a Blake Ferguson four-pointer as the Roosters scored three tries in three consecutive sets midway through the second half to put the match to bed with 25 minutes to play.

The Titans’ victory over Newcastle on Saturday leaves the Dragons five points out of the eight with two games to play and resigned to missing the finals for the fourth time in fiveseasons.

“I’m disappointed with the end result because it obviously finishes our season,”Dragons coach Paul McGregor said.

“Last year we were finalists and with two weeks to go this year we’re not in the fight anymore so that’s disappointing.

“I thought our effort in the first half, and in the early inthat second half, was outstanding with the amount of the possession the Roosters had at us,I think it was 17 sets to nine,60-40 possession and a 5-1 penalty count.

“To come in halftime 14-6 down I thought was a fair score-line consideringthe amount of possession one team had. I thought we started the second half well.Then at 14-6 the kick in behind where we didn’t manage to get the ball and they went up and scored and went back to back really zapped our energy there.

“If you watch most games the team that builds the most pressure early in the game comes home better and today the Roosters did a really good job on us there. Most of our sets we were starting within 10 metres of our try-line.

“Wedefended our line really well at different stages there and the first try after three sets came off a kick and the other one came off a [dropped] off-load from us but what it does do late in the game is take the full force of energy out of you because all you’ve done is defend.

“We put it all together last week and today we just didn’t do that early and the Roosters did what they did really well and that’s footy. They played the first 20 minutes probably better than most teams have against us all year.

The Roosters built a mountain of pressure early on largely off the boot of Mitchell Pearce who forced a line drop-out and laid on Mitch Aubusson’s 13thminute four-pointer with deft grubbers. Sio Siua Taukeiaho converted from close to the sidelinefor a 6-0 lead and did the same whenRyan Matterson 13minutes before the break.

Taukeiahoadded the extras and penalty goal fromthe next set to give his side a handy 14-0 buffer beforeWiddop got his side back in the match four minutes before the break,out-leapingBlake Ferguson to pull down a Marshall high ball toand cut the margin to eight at halftime.

Tupou crossed 10 minutes after the resumption with before Ferguson scoringfromthe very next set.Ferguson broke the Dragons open again from the ensuing set with Pearce toeing a kick through for Tupou’s second and a 30-6 lead.

Aiden Guerra won the race to a Jake Friend grubber to extend the margin to 30 before Ferguson’s second try five minutes from time rounded out the scoring.

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