NRL: Roosters crush Dragons

Mitchell Aubusson of the Roosters dives over to score a try. Photo / Getty Images
Mitchell Aubusson of the Roosters dives over to score a try. Photo / Getty Images

Roosters 34 Dragons 10
Sydney Roosters pair James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce tightened their grip on the NSW halves jerseys following an Anzac Day mauling of St George Illawarra.

The Roosters ended a six-year wait for the Anzac Cup, thrashing the Dragons 34-10 in front of an Anzac Day-record crowd of 40,752 at Allianz Stadium.

Maloney and Pearce ripped the game open with a three-try blitz early in the first half, leading to a 22-4 halftime advantage to the home side.

While Pearce has already been gift-wrapped the No.7 jersey by Blues coach Laurie Daley, Maloney is fighting it out with incumbent Todd Carney for the right to play alongside his club teammate.

He put his hand up even higher on Thursday, finishing with a personal haul of 10 points.

He put Mitchell Aubusson, who scored the Roosters first try, into half a gap where Aubusson was able to offload for another man with a Blues jersey in his sights, Michael Jennings.

Jennings showed off his trademark speed to stand up fullback Jason Nightingale and score his third try of the season.

The former Penrith star then grabbed a double when he pounced on a Jake Friend grubber in the second half, as the score ballooned and the Dragons resolve wilted.

Maloney also set up Daniel Tupou in the second half when he regathered his own kick and threw a cutout pass to the young winger.

Pearce left his own mark on the game in the first half, accepting a freakish Sonny Bill Williams offload before drawing Nightingale and sending Anthony Minichiello under the posts for the classiest try of the match.

Earlier, the Dragons became the first team to open the scoring against the Roosters this year - Nightingale claiming a dubious four-pointer from a Nathan Fien bomb, despite centre Matt Cooper appearing to knock on in the leadup.

While that brought a smile to the faces of Dragons fans, there was very little else to cheer about - save for a two-year contract extension for coach Steve Price which was signed off shortly before kick-off.

Even when speedster Brett Morris was in the clear, with two men looming in support, the Dragons failed to add to their scoreline - that man Maloney again pulling off a special play, dragging Morris down inches from the tryline.

With eight minutes to go, Cooper scored a consolation try, again from a Fien kick.

Dragons prop Trent Merrin was placed on report for a dangerous throw of Sam Moa, but doesn't appear to be in too much danger.

Second-rower Boyd Cordner was named man of the match, becoming the first Rooster to win the Ashton Collier Spirit of Anzac medal winner.

- AAP

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