ST George Illawarra will likely have to win their next two matches if they are to return to the NRLW grand final after a loss to the Roosters on Saturday.
The Dragons were below their best in the 18-4 defeat, Daniel Lacey's side unable to capitalise on a number of attacking opportunities.
Sydney received few chances, however they made the most of those they had, crossing for three tries.
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While the Roosters turned the ball over on multiple occasions, their defence was superb throughout the match to hold St George Illawarra to just one four-pointer.
Lacey was disappointed with his side's performance, but vowed they will be better for the run after a short preparation.
"It's not the result we wanted," Lacey said. "We wanted to go away and have no excuses after today. I think we can gain some positives, but we've got to be better for next week.
"We're good for the run now, we've tackled and caught up to speed a little bit, we've got the fitness into them, got their shoulders ready. A few combinations, you just can't beat match fitness and match prep as well.
"That's a huge positive for us, because they're not down and out. They know they've got to win next week, but once they can find a little bit more and they're good for the run, I think they'll be hard to beat."
The clash was a physical affair, with both sides experiencing a number of injuries.
Kezie Apps left the game with a head knock, while Jessica Sergis, Shakiah Tungai, Maddie Studdon and Keeley Davis all received treatment during the game.
The Roosters lost former Dragons fullback Botille Vette-Welsh with a leg injury in the first half, however it did not slow their talented backline.
While disappointed with the result, there were a number of bright spots for St George Illawarra.
Powerful forward Elsie Albert lived up to the pre-match hype, the Papua New Guinean a dominant force through the middle of the field. Albert ran for 109 metres in 55 impressive minutes.
Jaime Chapman also impressed on debut, while Ellie Johnston made an impact off the bench late in the first half.
While the Roosters pack was impressive, Lacey said the performance from his middle forwards is a good sign for the coming weeks.
"That's a huge positive. We did get beaten through the middle, but all those middles played big minutes, they'll be better for the run next week.
"We'll be resting them up throughout the week so they can get out there and find that 10% more collectively as a team as well."
The Dragons were on the back foot from the opening exchanges, with Sydney hooker Nita Maynard darting from dummy half to open the scoring in just the second minute.
An error on the kickoff reception had St George Illawarra straight back on the attack and it didn't take long for the side to hit back.
It was Tiana Penitani who crossed, the winger latching on to a brilliant Sam Bremner pass to make it 6-4.
Sydney were wasteful throughout much of the first half, a number of errors handing St George Illawarra multiple attacking opportunities.
While spending plenty of time in their opponent's half, the Dragons rarely threatened to break through.
Eventually a penalty saw the Roosters back on the attack and they made the most of the chance to extend their advantage to 12-4 at the half-time break.
The opening exchanges of the second half were evenly matched, with the two sides attempting to grind their opponents down.
Ultimately it was St George Illawarra who gained the upper hand, the Dragons enjoying an extended period of time on the attack.
The Roosters held firm, however, before they closed out the match with a late Corban McGregor try to secure the victory.
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