Injuries plagued the Roosters win at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with the reigning premiers getting the job done fairly easily over the brave Bulldogs.
It was always going to be tough for the home side to overcome a powerhouse squad like the Roosters, but surprisingly they took it to their opponents in the opening exchanges.
Coach Dean Pay would be pleased with the effort, particularly in defence. They held off several attacking raids by the tri-colours. Although errors stunted their momentum, they did look likely on several occasions.
A contentious forward pass call denied Cooper Cronk the opening try but the game’s best player, James Tedesco, finished off a slick move in the ninth minute. Not long after Joseph Manu was denied a spectacular corner try by having a foot in touch.
It was gritty up the middle, but the Roosters looked a class above, even with several chances shut down by the brave Bulldogs.
Manu made up for his earlier error by scoring a powerful try in the 26th minute. Coupled with a Latrell Mitchell penalty goal, the Roosters took a 14-0 lead to the break.
The home side came out swinging to open the second 40, offloading at will and making big inroads. Josh Jackson stepped up when it mattered, as did Will Hopoate who had a huge hand in Reimis Smith crossing for a try in the corner in the 54th minute. Nick Meaney converted to close the margin to eight.
Some costly errors began to mount, and after a wealth of possession the Bulldogs found themselves on the front foot. It was all the invitation the Roosters needed, with Brett Morris crossing untouched against his former side. Mitchell again converted for a 20-6 lead.
They could have been forgiven for resting on their laurels, but the Bulldogs fought back and created some big opportunities, although they were only able to convert one of them with a Lachlan Lewis kick batted down by Will Hopoate, resulting in Smith’s second in the corner in the 75th minute. Meaney converted for a 20-12 scoreline – and that’s how it stayed.
Chooks Licking their Wounds
Captain Boyd Cordner didn’t have the greatest of games and was replaced in the second half with a calf strain that is expected to keep him out of action for a few weeks. Fellow forward Siosiua Taukeiaho also limped off with a similar injury with 18 minutes left. Sitting comfortably in the top four, the Roosters won’t rush them back.
Bulldogs Show Heart
It’s no surprise that the Bulldogs are outclassed on paper when compared to many other squads, but it may be surprising that they weren’t out-enthused by their opponents. They aren’t short on effort or heart; that was on display in droves on Sunday afternoon.
Cogger Proving his Worth
Like many in the Bulldogs’ team, Jack Cogger is young and inexperienced. However, he has been stepping up when needed lately. He was more than solid against the Roosters, running for over 120 metres and orchestrating several attacking raids that almost resulted in tries.
Tedesco is Better than the rest-o
What a player. Although he looked to have had a quieter-than-usual game against the Bulldogs he was actually the best on ground. He ran for over 200 metres, scored a try, set up another and was a constant threat. His knack of popping up when needed and his sheer class should leave no doubts that he is the best in the game.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
Tries: Reimis Smith (2)
Goals: Nick Meaney 2/2
Drop Goals: n/a
Sydney Roosters 20
Tries: James Tedesco, Joseph Manu, Brett Morris
Goals: Latrell Mitchell 4/4
Drop Goals: n/a
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Jack Cogger 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Adam Elliott. Interchange: 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Danny Fualalo 17. Chris Smith.
Sydney Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 17. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 14. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 9. Victor Radley. Interchange: 13. Isaac Liu 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Angus Crichton 18. Sitili Tupouniua.