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Clad in Captain America get-up, second half-heroics from Michael Jennings and Aidan Guerra have secured the Roosters a hard-fought 30-22 win over the Dragons at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

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Jennings' two-try haul in his first outing since recovering from a six-week back injury and Guerra's own second half four-pointer saw the Roosters switch on the afterburners and put away a valiant Dragons outfit despite incredibly having to defend an extra 12 sets and only enjoying 45 per cent of possession.

Holding a slender 12-10 lead after an insipid first 40 minutes – where every ball the Roosters dropped, bulleted over the sideline or passed forward out of dummy-half was matched by a poor fifth tackle option or disjointed attacking raid from the Dragons – the Roosters stepped up a notch in the second half, running in three tries to secure a fifth straight win over the Red V and continue their flirtation with the top four, pushing into the upper rungs of the NRL ladder ahead of the Bulldogs in fourth spot due to a superior four and against.     

Jennings and fellow Origin star Brett Morris traded four pointers in the ninth and 14th minute respectively to kick things off – Jennings' the result of a James Maloney bomb and Morris gifted his eighth try of the year by a fumble from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in his in-goal – and a missed conversion attempt from Gareth Widdop was the only difference as the Roosters took a 6-4 lead out of the opening exchanges.

Joel Thompson was next across the line courtesy of a flat ball from Widdop – ensuring he won't be completing a nudie run around WIN Stadium with his first try for the red and whites – to give the visitors a 10-6 advantage, though not without a healthy dose of controversy in the lead up. 

Thompson's try came off the back of a long break from Morris, who had taken a quick tap after referee Shayne Hayne pinged the Roosters marker defence, despite the Tricolours believing the penalty had been given for offside – an infringement where a quick-tap cannot be taken. 

A slick left-side shift that put young Roosters flyer Nene MacDonald on the outside of his man in the 31st minute pushed the Chooks back in front 12-10, and the premiers extended their lead beyond a converted try when Guerra surged through three defenders, stretched out the go-go gadget arms and caught a piece of the try-line seven minutes after the break.

Jennings' second meat pie of the night, a 61st-minute touchdown of a Maloney grubber, followed by a successful conversion from the five-eighth sounded the death knell for the Dragons, only for the tolling bell to be proved premature by a Mitch Pearce knock-on off the kick-off. 

A charge down from Guerra with the Dragons on the attack in the ensuing set saved his halfback further embarrassment and sent the back-rower seventy metres downfield, with only a desperate chase and try-saving tackle from Mitch Rein preventing the Chooks from stretching their lead further.

Benji Marshall's own fleet-footed showing in the 70th minute, which saw him leaving three Roosters clutching at thin air over the course of a 20-metre jink to the tryline, gave the Dragons a sliver of hope with the clock winding down. But when Jake Friend struck back immediately with a scurry from dummy half, the Roosters' 14-point buffer was again restored, and only reduced two minutes out from fulltime by a consolation try to Josh Dugan.

Sydney Roosters 30 (M Jennings 2, N MacDonald, A Guerra, J Friend tries; J Maloney 5 goals) defeated St George-Illawarra 22 (B Morris, J Thompson, B Marshall, J Dugan tries; G Widdop 3 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Crowd: 13,083

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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