Pearce hat-trick sees off Dragons in NRL

Ian McCullough, NZ Newswire August 3, 2012, 11:49 pm

A hat-trick of tries from Mitchell Pearce helped Sydney Roosters to a first NRL win in six attempts, a 26-10 victory over a disappointing St George Illawarra on Friday night.

The NSW halfback scored just before halftime and iced the result with two four-pointers in the last eight minutes at Allianz Stadium.

However, the win didn't come easily for the hosts, who conceded two second-half tries while winger Joseph Leilua was in the sin bin for a professional foul.

Leilua gave his side the lead midway through the opening stanza when he waltzed through the Dragons defence for his sixth try of the season and Pearce doubled the lead when he raced under the posts on the stroke of halftime.

Braith Anasta kicked his third goal four minutes after the interval to put the Tricolours 14-0 in front.

But as they have so many times this season, the Roosters shot themselves in the foot when Leilua dived on top of Chase Stanley to prevent a quick play-the ball, after the centre was chased down by Brad Takairangi, and was sent off for 10 minutes.

The Dragons took full advantage, Matt Prior diving over from the resulting penalty, and Ben Creagh showed great handling skills to haul in a Nathan Fien kick and bundle over.

However, Steve Price's men, who are the lowest scorers in the competition, were unable to add to the total when Leilua returned, with Brett Morris being denied two certain tries due to forward passes from Jason Nightingale and Nathan Green.

With the Roosters' fans in the crowd of 12,528 feeling the nerves, exciting young winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck showed why he is rated so highly by coach Brian Smith when he ran the ball 40 metres from his own in-goal area and offloaded to Pearce who cruised to the line.

Anasta added the extras before Pearce scored his third three minutes from time.

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