Widdop injured as golden boy Pearce slays Dragons, Storm go top


St George Illawarra Dragons lost Gareth Widdop to a knee injury as Sydney Roosters half-back Mitchell Pearce scored an extra-time drop goal to seal a 13-12 Anzac Day win, while Melbourne Storm beat New Zealand Warriors to go top of the ladder.

Widdop is set to miss England's Test against Samoa on May 6 after he suffered medial ligament on the stroke of half-time at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday and the playmaker was sorely missed by the Dragons.

Paul McGregor's side had won four games in a row to rise to the summit in the NRL, but they came unstuck in a thriller watched by a record Anzac Day crowd of 40,864.

It was Pearce who had the final say, nailing a first drop goal for seven years in golden point to raise the roof and bring the Roosters level on 12 points with the Dragons after eight rounds.

The Dragons led 6-0 at the break after Joel Thompson ploughed his way over for a try which Widdop converted, but Blake Ferguson got on the end of a grubber to dot down 10 minutes into the second half.

The lively Pearce burst through and touched down to put the Roosters in front after losing control of the ball, but grabbing it before it went to ground, and Michael Gordon converted before slotting over a penalty.

There was a late twist, though, as Nene Macdonald scored against his former club when he went over two minutes from time, with Josh Dugan converting in the absence of Widdop after passing a head injury assessment in the first half.

But Pearce settled a thriller, holding his nerve to split the posts from 30 metres out.

Melbourne took their chance to go back to the top of the table, running in four tries in a 20-14 success against the Warriors at AAMI Park.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Cooper Cronk, Josh Addo-Carr and Felise Kaufusi were the try-scorers as the Storm raised their game after the two sides were level at 8-8 at half-time, with David Fusitua's double in vain.