Roosters run riot to end Dragons' season
A rampant Roosters outfit has officially ended the Dragons' hopes of playing finals football with a crushing 42-6 win at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Needing to win their final three games of the regular season – and results to go their way – the Red V were simply never in the contest as the Tricolours secured their third win from their past four starts to rise up to 13th spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder.
There was no stopping the three-time defending minor premiers who belied their lowly ranking in what was a faultless performance from start to finish.
Blake Ferguson ran for a whopping 235 metres, Mitchell Pearce added three try assists to his ever-growing tally, while Daniel Tupou had his best game of 2016.
The Roosters couldn't have asked for a better start from their big men with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (134 metres), Sio Siua Taukeiaho (108) and Dylan Napa (83) battering the defensive line time and time again in the first half.
Back-to-back line dropouts took their toll on the Dragons defence with the pinpoint right boot of Mitchell Pearce setting up Mitchell Aubusson for the afternoon's first points after 13 minutes.
The joy was short-lived, however, with the makeshift centre replaced by Ryan Matterson after injuring himself in the process of grounding the ball.
The new-look combination on the left almost paid dividends straight away when Tupou strolled over untouched, only for Matterson's batted pass to be ruled forward by the sideline official.
There would be no such problems 60 seconds later as the Roosters utility back powered his way through the attempted tackle of Josh Dugan to score his second try in the space of a week.
A power set of the most brutal nature resulted in another two points for the Tricolours, only for the Dragons to narrow the gap when Gareth Widdop gathered a kick from halves partner Benji Marshall to score under the posts.
A dominant 40-minute display saw the Roosters receive a standing ovation from their fans, but the 14-6 scoreline could have been greater had they managed to finish off a breathtaking after-the-siren effort that went through half a dozen sets of hands.
It was a case of sliding doors in the second half as the Dragons went agonisingly close to scoring, only for Taane Milne to lose control as he tried to reel in a grubber.
They were made to pay from the very next set as some slick hands down the left sent Tupou into space, with the hulking winger charging over the top of Dugan to score in the corner.
The attempted tackle looked to have more serious ramifications as Dugan was left clutching the jaw he broke in Origin III. The 26-year-old was able to continue but had to watch on as Connor Watson broke through to set up Blake Ferguson to make it 24-6.
The procession continued a minute later when Ferguson latched onto a Sam Moa offload to put the hosts straight back on the attack, and from the next play, Pearce grubbered through to set up Tupou's second of the afternoon.
Playing the sort of footy that would have them premiership favourites any other year, the Roosters ran in their fourth try in the space of 10 minutes when the recalled Aidan Guerra raced through to ground a Jake Friend grubber.
Ferguson was arguably the best player on the field, and fittingly it was the fullback who rounded out the scoring five minutes from full-time to help the Roosters equal their biggest ever win over the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Roosters 42 (Tupou 2, Ferguson 2, Aubusson, Matterson, Guerra tries; Taukeiaho 4, Mitchell 3 goals) defeated Dragons 6 (Widdop try; Widdop goal) at Allianz Stadium. Half-time: 14-6 Roosters. Crowd: 11,486. Injury: Mitchell Aubusson (kidney).