St George Illawarra have maintained their red-hot run of form with a sixth successive NRL victory, seeing off the Sydney Roosters 14-12 in a dramatic Anzac Day encounter at Allianz Stadium.
The wild weather that lashed Sydney for much of the week returned midway through the first half, forcing officials to take the players off the field due to lightning, with the Dragons leading 10-0 after tries from Peter Mata’utia and Mitch Rein.
More than 21mm of rain fell as the two teams returned to the change rooms before play resumed after a 30-minute break in front of a crowd of 35,110.
It was the first time since 2009 that lightning had forced players off the field when an electrical storm pounded Newcastle in a game against Brisbane in which players were kept off the field for 40 minutes.
On Saturday, the break in play resulted in halftime being reduced to eight minutes but, just before the interval, the Roosters managed to get on the scoreboard when Shaun Kenny-Dowall pounced on a handling error from Josh Dugan with James Maloney adding the extras.
The slippery conditions made life difficult for the players in the second half.
But there was no bigger error than the one made by lead referee Gerard Sutton who refused to use the video referee to check to see if Dragons centre Dylan Farrell had scored a try.
Farrell chased after a Gareth Widdop grubber kick and replays clearly showed he was able to get a hand to the ball in front of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and a try should have been awarded.
Two Widdop penalties extended the Dragons’ lead to 14-6 but a Tuivasa-Sheck try, converted by Maloney, closed the deficit to two points.
But Paul McGregor’s side again showed their mettle with steely defence to hold off the late onslaught to inflict a fourth straight loss on the Roosters for the first time in Trent Robinson’s tenure.