Sydney Roosters 22
Tries: Daniel Tupou, Anthony Minichello, James Maloney
Goals: James Maloney 5/5
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Tries: Dylan Walker, Alex Johnston, Lote Tuqiri
Goals: Isaac Luke 3/4
Following last night’s 22-18 tightly-contested win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Sydney Roosters have now matched the Manly Sea Eagles in hands on the minor premiership trophy, and it is now up to the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday as for who is to claim it with ten fingers.
On Thursday night at Allianz Stadium in Sydney’s east, both teams knew as they sat in the changing rooms, this was to be their biggest clash of the season. With the winner guaranteed a first place finish and the loser left preparing for their quarterfinals match.
The game began in the same form we’ve seen other heavyweight title clashes this season begin. Penalty taps, high kicks and hardly-fought efforts in defence had the majority of the 32,481 fans on the very edge of their seats in what was highly dubbed a ‘turf war’.
Roosters halfback James Maloney decided to play things safe when in the early minutes he converted a penalty goal from the 10m line to give the Roosters and early winning edge.
The Rabbitohs were forced to up their game when in the 17th minute, a brilliant individual run from Mitchell Pearce that was believed to have ended in a knock on, made it’s way to Origin winger Daniel Tupou to bump the lead up to eight.
South Sydney center Kirisome Auva’a was sin-binned in the 41st minute for an infringement against Mitchell Pearce, giving the barely-used sin-bin a wakeup call.
Mitchell Pearce once again did all the dirty work for the tri-colours when he set up a spectacular 44th minute try for soon-departing fullback Anthony Minichello. James Maloney managed to keep his 100% kicking rate and the impending gloom over the Rabbitohs quickly became immense.
It only got worse for the Rabbitohs when the Roosters’ lead was extended to twenty through either pure luck or destiny when a Mitchell Pearce grubber kick rebounded off the left-post and into the hands of James Maloney, who again retained his stellar kicking rate.
It wasn’t until the 65th minute for the Rabbitohs to show any hope of a comeback when superstar center Dylan Walker dummied through the fringes of the Roosters defence and gave realistic hope of two premiership points
The Rabbitohs continued to fightback but couldn’t find the try-line until nine minutes later where young-gun Alex Johnston came out of nowhere and made himself heard when he scored through the posts and put the Rabbitohs just eight points behind.
Lote Tuqiri continued the trend into the corner of the field where he found the Roosters line ingoal through an assist from Luke Keary, unfortunately for the Redfern side, the conversion failed through Isaac Luke and it was the Roosters who got the last laugh out of the match.