Dragons dominant on Anzac Day
A BEN Hunt masterclass and yet another controversial bunker call have fired St George Illawarra to a 24-8 Anzac Day defeat of the Sydney Roosters.
In front of crowd of 41,142 - a record for the fixture - at Allianz Stadium, the NRL video referees were again the centre of attention after green-lighting a Nene MacDonald four-pointer in the 69th minute.
After the Dragons put it through the hands, the ball appeared to come loose due to the attention of Cooper Cronk.
However bunker official Jared Maxwell ruled MacDonald still had a finger tip on the ball and there was insufficient evidence to overturn the on-field call.
The Dragons were up 18-8 at the time and the four-pointer killed off any hope of a Roosters fightback.
It took the gloss off an engrossing contest with Hunt all but assuring he would wear the No. 7 this year for Queensland, while Tariq Sims put on an eye-catching audition in front of NSW coach Brad Fittler.
On several occasions, the Dragons' back-rower lined up Cronk and levelled him in what appeared a deliberate ploy to put the No. 7 off his game.
He rubbed salt into Cronk's wounds in the 46th when he latched on to a Gareth Widdop short ball and ran over the Roosters' playmaker to make it 18-2.
Latrell Mitchell's four-pointer in the 51st minute was the only time the Roosters could crack the ladder-leaders' defence.
The Dragons took a 12-2 advantage into the break after Hunt bookended the first half with two pieces of brilliance.
After running it on the last play of the first set of the game, he cut the Roosters open and Widdop kicked for a flying MacDonald.
After absorbing a mountain of pressure, Hunt produced a show-and-go to expose a tiring Boyd Cordner to make it 12-2 on half-time.
At one point during the first half, the Roosters had six sets on the Dragons' line but couldn't crack them open and had to settle for a penalty goal.
The loss will only fuel questions about the Roosters' attack, with Cronk and James Tedesco failing to fire.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 24 (N MacDonald 2 B Hunt T Sims tries G Widdop 4 goals) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 8 (L Mitchell try L Mitchell 2 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 41,142.