NSW State of Origin five-eighth James Maloney made a profitable return from a fractured eye socket to help the Sydney Roosters to a crushing 36-0 win tonight over St George Illawarra at Kogarah.
Maloney, who suffered his injury in the second Origin game, scored the first of six Roosters tries and landed all six of his kicks.
Converted tries in the third minute to Maloney and lock Boyd Cordner in the 12th set up a convincing win, as the Roosters posted their fourth shutout of the season.
The win lifted them above Melbourne into second spot on the NRL ladder. The Dragons had more ball, and a penalty count advantage, but their poor kicking game and impatience with ball in hand cost them dearly.
NSW centre Michael Jennings raced more than 70 metres for the Roosters third try in the 33rd minute after busy hooker Jake Friend scooped up a blocked kick from Nathan Fien.
While the Roosters also made some errors, they were much more clinical when they made their way into Dragons territory.
Even the loss at halftime of Sonny Bill Williams to a hamstring niggle didn't disrupt the visitors. They piled on three more converted tries in the third quarter through Shaun Kenny-Dowall, forward Aiden Guerra and winger Daniel Tupou.
Sydney Roosters 36 (B Cordner A Guerra M Jennings S Kenny-Dowall J Maloney D Tupou tries J Maloney 6 goals) St George Illawarra Dragons 0 at WIN Jubilee Oval. Referee: Chris James, Adam Devcich. Crowd: 11,857
Will the Warriors be playing finals footy this year?