Although not at their best overall, it was Luke Keary who stepped up to guide the Sydney Roosters to a win over the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Missing Paul Vaughan who was forced into isolation due to breaching NRL Apollo protocols, the Dragons fought valiantly.
In the end, though, Keary had his best game in recent weeks and guided the side to a solid win.
“You could see he really loved running around there tonight,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
“He was like that little kid who runs around all the big guys looking for opportunities to play.
“That’s what he looked like tonight. It was nice to watch him.”
It looked like it might get ugly early when after a Tariq Sims drop, Joey Manu would dive over from dummy half on the ensuing set.
Playing in game 300, Mitchell Aubusson would then power over after James Tedesco and Lachlan Lam combined with the veteran.
It looked like a long night may have been on the cards for the Dragons but Zac Lomax had other ideas.
Quick hands in the second quarter of the game that went through Ben Hunt and Cam McInnes, saw Lomax slice through to score in the corner.
The youthful injection of Tristan Sailor before the break then seemed to rejuvenate the Dragons attack.
He would grab the bull by the horns and grubbered ahead and Lomax beat Matt Dufty to the ball for his second.
The second half then started much like the first, as a break down the left side with Ryan Hall, eventually led to Sitili Tupouniua scoring.
Conceding points when they were under no fatigue was a disappointing aspect to the loss for Dragons coach Paul McGregor.
“We gave away 12 points – six in the first five minutes of the first half and then again in the second half – under no fatigue, which is disappointing,” St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor said.
The Dragons would continue to have their chances but failed to capitalise even on the back of a 40/20 by Adam Clune.
Manu would score his second try to continue his recent strong resurgence.
Keary would then put the icing on the cake and seal the deal when he crossed despite appearing to be tripped by Jackson Ford.
Try as they might, a lack of execution let the Dragons down.
Despite a late consolation by Matt Dufty, who grubbered ahead for himself, the Roosters roll on with another hard fought win.
Taking over goal-kicking duties in Kyle Flanagan’s absence, Siosiua Taukeiaho drew praise from coach Robinson.
“It was nice to watch Siua owning the middle of the field,” he said.
“We knew we had a young bench and if it was going to be his night we were going to have to leave him out there and he was going to have to hold us together. It was really, really good.
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Luke Keary (SYD)
2. Zac Lomax (SGI)
- Siosiua Taukeiaho (SYD)