Mitchell shines as Roosters thump Dragons
The Roosters have made all the premiership pundits sit up and take notice they are back in the hunt alongside Melbourne and South Sydney in late September after disposing of the Dragons 36-18 at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
But a speed hump has appeared already as playmaker Luke Keary is heading for scans on his left knee on Monday after limping off early in the second half.
Other than that, the Roosters fans left the Moore Park precinct very happy indeed. Before this round 20 match-up, the Roosters had not beaten a team in the top four, losing to the Rabbitohs in round six, the Dragons on Anzac Day and the Storm in round 16.
A Latrell Michell hat-trick and James Tedesco brace gave the local fans their money's worth. Mitchell moved into double figures in tries - he now has 11 for this year - and what points he doesn't score with his hands, he makes up with his boot. Conversions from the sideline are his thing as well. He had two of those on Sunday in his four goals to contribute a personal tally of 20 points.
The only downer in a well-rounded Roosters display of seven tries to two was that left knee injury to their five-eighth. The busy little playmaker got his leg caught under the weight of falling bodies in the 51st minute and was helped up the tunnel with suspected medial ligament damage.
Match: Roosters vs Dragons
Round 20 -
Venue: Allianz Stadium
- Nine Network
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
The Roosters moved to third on the Telstra Premiership ladder, while the Dragons slipped from second to fourth.
Paul McGregor's men have lost three of their past five games. They also have the hungry Panthers, Sharks and Broncos hot on their trail to steal their top-four spot.
For the Roosters, they have always been able to rely on their defence.
But now their attack makes their back five dangerous every time they touch the ball. Tedesco, in particular, was everywhere around the ruck, supporting runners, calling for the ball, darting here and there.
Mitchell just uses the good old attributes of speed and strength to showcase his football.
The Roosters scored first in the opening minutes of the first half through Mitchell and repeated that in the early stages of the second - Mitchell again.
Two tries in the first 10 minutes made the home team's intentions clear.
Mitchell opened the scoring with another 'How did he do that?' try in the seventh minute. The Roosters centre had three defenders on him, although Euan Aitken did drop off, as he grounded the ball. Ben Hunt and Jason Nightingale were hanging on but ineffectively as Mitchell scored his ninth try of the year.
Then his NSW Blues teammate Tedesco chased a Blake Ferguson kick down the right side and scored two minutes later.
Tedesco was at them again, going straight up the middle in the 21st minute to find Cooper Cronk on his right backing up.
It took the Dragons until 14 seconds before the half-time siren to score their first points – a Hunt try. He scored his second in the 67th minute.
The half-time score of 16-6 gave St George Illawarra some hope the Roosters could be wound back in the second 40.
That proved a myth.
The Roosters piled on four tries in the second half. But whether it was fatigue or a little complacency, the Dragons scored two in the final 14 minutes via Hunt and Tariq Sims, with that late-game fade becoming a habit after they let two consolation tries in by Manly last weekend.
News & Notes: The Roosters will be waiting for the extent of knee damage suffered by Luke Keary (51st minute) ... the Roosters remain at home next weekend to face North Queensland with Cooper Cronk playing his former Kangaroos and Maroons halves partner for the last time ... the Dragons haven't beaten the Roosters twice in the same season since 2010 ... The Dragons are back in Wollongong to face the Warriors next Saturday ... Crowd: 19,878