Roosters put in season best performance
After an incredibly average performance against the Warriors before the rep round break, the Roosters bounced back with a thrashing of the Eels. Their forwards started the game on fire, marching up the field with every carry. Everything went right for the Chooks on the day. Loose balls were pounced on for runaway tries, foots avoided the touch line by millimetres and the rub of the green went their way with a few officiating calls. Michael Gordon’s goal kicking radar was even back to its best with an 8 goal haul against his former club.
Given all the miracle comebacks of the round, the Roosters would have been on high alert to keep their focus in the second half. They did just that as they piled on 4 tries and kept the Eels to just 1. Coach Trent Robinson said putting in a full 80 minutes was something he had wanted to see from the Roosters all year.
Latrell returns with a vengeance
After a few weeks spent in reserve grade and rumours abounding of him wanting out, Latrell made an impressive return to first grade. Within 4 minutes he had crossed for the game’s opening try and he was a constant threat to the Eels defence, breaking 6 tackles and running for 119m. Stats aside there was purpose in his runs, he played like he had a point to prove and it reflected in his performance. His defence was much improved as he made better reads and put on some good shots.
Whether it was all a part of Trent Robinson’s master plan to fire him up remains to be seen. However as it stands the Roosters potency as an attacking threat has improved with Latrell back and the Roosters are looking a lot better for it.
Eels facing halves problem
Corey Norman has been ruled out for up to a month out with a knee injury which doesn’t bode well for the Eels given their depth is being stretched in that department. Jeff Robson’s experience will likely be called upon to fill in but the Eels will sorely lack the dynamic play of Norman’s kicking and running game.
The Eels have used 4 different halves pairing this year and depending on whether French returns or not, that number could increase to 5. It’s hard to play consistent football and build combinations with constant disruptions in the halves.
Watson wasted on the bench
Connor Watson’s role as a utility pretty much assures him limited game time unless needed. However with the Roosters leading by a large margin early into the 2nd half, the time seemed right to throw Watson into the action and see what he could do but it wasn’t to be. The camera panned to him during the match where he cut a rather dejected figure sitting on the bench.
He eventually came on with 15 to go where he made the most of his time out there but it does beg the question of where his future with the Roosters stands. The Roosters declined to release him earlier in the season but don’t seem to have any plans to use him in any great capacity. Watson was a revelation for the Chooks at the back end of the year and while he may get an opportunity over Origin with the likelihood of Pearce playing for the Blues, his talents are currently being underutilized.
In The Sheds
Corey Norman limped off the field with a knee injury. He faces around a month on the sidelines pending scans.
Mitch Aubusson came off the field with 15 to go with blood coming from his mouth. With the result foregone by that time, it may have just been a precautionary move.
Sydney Roosters- 48
Tries: Latrell Mitchell (4m), Jake Friend (10m), Daniel Tupou (31m, 44m), Blake Ferguson (37m, 67m, 76m), Joey Manu (72m)
Goals: Michael Gordon 8/10
Parramatta Eels- 10
Tries: Clint Gutherson(23m), Michael Jennings (62m)
Goals: Clint Gutherson 1/2