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Never-say-die Dragons pull off dramatic win on day for heroes

Date

Glenn Jackson

St George Illawarra 28 Roosters 24

The Dragons celebrate after Ben Creagh scored the winning try with 45 seconds remaining.

The Dragons celebrate after Ben Creagh scored the winning try with 45 seconds remaining. Photo: Getty Images

A MATCH to remember, an occasion to savour, and a fitting captain's knock. If you could have written a script for yesterday's Anzac Day thriller (the St George Illawarra victory version at least), it would have been fairly close to the dramatic events at Allianz Stadium.

MATCH STATS

''It was a classic game of footy on Anzac Day,'' Dragons coach Steve Price said. ''It typifies what the Anzac spirit's all about, not giving up for your mate. It's a credit to the guys in the dressing room.

Tough contest ... Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters fends off Matt Cooper of the Dragons.

Tough contest ... Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters fends off Matt Cooper of the Dragons. Photo: Getty Images

''The most pleasing thing was that they walked off that field and they gave it their all. It's a memory our captain Ben Hornby can live with for the rest of his life.''

Hornby, who played his record-breaking 257th match, was in ''shock'' at the turn of events. ''We just dug in there and dug in there and kept plugging away, and the game turned in the last few minutes,'' he said. ''That shows what can happen when you never give up.''

After the Dragons had scored two tries in the final four minutes to steal victory from the Roosters, who had led by eight points, it was something of a miracle they even bothered to take the conversion for Ben Creagh's match-winning try, such were the frenzied celebrations.

A crowd of over 40,000 get's ready for some Anzac Day Rugby League in Sydney. Click for more photos

Anzac Rugby League - Roosters v Dragons 2012

Rugby League and the Anzac spirit go hand in hand in this yearly match up between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Can the Dragons make it 5 Anzac wins in a row or will the Roosters win their first since 2007? All pictures by Steve Christo. Selected images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH. Photo: Steve Christo

But five-eighth Jamie Soward handed the ball to Hornby, who broke Norm Provan's St George record for appearances yesterday, and the captain kicked the final goal.

''It was a fitting end for a great day for me,'' Hornby said. ''I don't know if it could have gone any better.''

The final minutes were remarkable. Dragons fans had been walking out with five minutes to go, such was the Roosters' apparent comfort. But after Braith Anasta's penalty goal with five minutes remaining, which gave the Roosters a 24-16 lead, the Dragons took a short kick-off, which was fielded by Jason Nightingale, who sent centre Matt Prior away for a try.

Some supporters, walking towards the exits, turned back to their seats, and they would have been thankful; Creagh scored off prop Michael Weyman's offload and the place erupted.

The build-up and the emotion of the occasion is always memorable, but the potential for the contest wasn't great. The Dragons have been accused of being boring this season while the Roosters have been accused of being poor.

But this became a marvellous match. The Roosters threw everything at the Dragons in the first half but the home side's defence remained solid. The Roosters had been torn open by Mitch Rein's incisive run that set up Creagh's opening try, but they too were stout throughout.

The remaining three tries of the half, to Aiden Guerra, Matt Cooper and Anthony Minichiello, all came from high kicks, yet that did not dilute the entertainment value.

The last one, where Minichiello timed a run from a Mitchell Pearce kick perfectly to out-jump Dragons fullback Brett Morris, continued a rather nice subplot. Minichiello, the incumbent NSW fullback, was facing one of the heirs apparent in Morris. The Dragons player had held Minichiello up superbly in the opening minutes of the encounter, but the Rooster got one over Morris here.

And Pearce? Just a few days ago he was off-form and lacking in confidence, now he has produced two superb performances in a row. Three of the Roosters' four tries came from his boot - he helped himself to the third as Morris gambled that the ball would bobble dead.

Even when Pearce didn't mean to, he came up with a key play - Jake Friend's ball took a detour via Pearce's mistimed touch and captain Anasta scored what had appeared to be the clincher.

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 28 (B Creagh 2 M Cooper M Prior M Weyman tries J Soward 3 B Hornby goals) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 24 (B Anasta A Guerra A Minichiello M Pearce tries B Anasta 4 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Ben Cummins. Crowd: 40,164.

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Dragons Matt Prior and Roosters Jake Friend. Anzac Rugby League - Roosters v Dragons 2012

Rugby League and the Anzac spirit go hand in hand in this yearly match up between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Can the Dragons make it 5 Anzac wins in a row or will the Roosters win their first since 2007? All pictures by Steve Christo. Selected images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH.

Standings: NRL ladder

Standings in the National Rugby League

Live: St George Illawarra v Sydney Roosters

Join Chris Barrett from 3.30pm for traditional Anzac Day clash between two great NRL rivals.

NRL teams round 8

Teams named today for round 8 of the NRL. (All times local).

A grand game for a grand occasion

It had been an Anzac Day to savour. One that provided the type of breathless contests that prompt unfortunate comparisons between football and real battle.

Late Dragons charge leaves Roosters mired in self pity

''IT WAS a nightmare,'' was the first remark a shattered Braith Anasta could offer, and for good reason. How the Sydney Roosters managed to concede an eight-point lead inside the final five minutes of a thrilling Anzac Cup clash was difficult to comprehend.

Halfback accentuates match positives after his Pearce de resistance

THE trick for the Roosters after such a defeat will be to consider the performance rather than the result. Halfback Mitchell Pearce, arguably the best player on the park but in a losing side, said: ''If we play like that most weeks, we'll definitely be a finals team.''

Five things we learnt from last night's game

What we learnt from yesterday's Anzac Day classic.

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 19:45SUN
MAN vs SOU 19:45BO
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 15:00Westpac Stadium
CRO vs NQL 17:30Remondis Stadium
PAR vs PEN 19:30TIO
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCT 14:00AAMI
NEW vs SYD 16:00HS
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs WST 19:00GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL vs SOU 19:451300 Smiles Stadium
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 19:45SUN
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST vs NEW 15:00CSS
PEN vs NZW 17:30Pepper Stadium
SYD vs PAR 19:30AS
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs MAN 14:00GIO Stadium
CBY vs GCT 16:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO vs MEL 19:00Remondis Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 19:45WIN
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU vs CBY 19:45ANZ
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO vs WST 15:00Remondis Stadium
NZW vs NQL 17:30MSS
SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus Super Stadium
MAN vs PAR 16:00BO
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NEW 19:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU vs BRI 19:45AS
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN vs SYD 19:45BO
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 15:00Pirtek Stadium
NEW vs CBY 17:30HS
MEL vs NQL 19:30AAMI
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST vs NZW 14:00CSS
GCT vs STG 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs PEN 19:30GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 19:45SUN
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD vs SOU 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN vs NEW 15:00Pepper Stadium
STG vs WST 17:30ANZ
NQL vs GCT 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBR 14:00Pirtek Stadium
CRO vs MAN 16:00Remondis Stadium
CBY vs NZW 18:30ANZ
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Brisbane Broncos 19 15 4 0 34
North Queensland Cowboys 19 15 4 0 34
Sydney Roosters 19 13 6 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 19 12 7 0 28
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 19 11 8 0 26
Melbourne Storm 19 10 9 0 24
St George-Illawarra Dragons 19 9 10 0 22
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 19 9 10 0 22
View all
 

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