Aaron Sutcliffe reviews the Round 20 opener between the Sydney Roosters and the Parramatta Eels. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Josh Morris (24), Sitili Tupouniua (27), Sam Walker (51), Daniel Tupou (67), Joseph Manu (74).
Goals: Adam Keighran (26, 28, 53), Sam Walker (76).
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Sam Walker (Sydney Roosters)
2 pts – Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters)
1 pt – Adam Keighran (Sydney Roosters)
The stage was set for a blockbuster clash in Mackay on Thursday night, with the Roosters knowing a win would draw them level on points with the Eels in fourth place on the NRL ladder, whilst Parramatta were looking to move four points clear of their opponents and bounce back from their narrow defeat to Canberra last time out.
In an unusually error-strewn opening quarter, both teams struggled to complete their respective sets before the Roosters broke the deadlock against the run of play on 24 minutes when Sam Walker threw a long pass out to Josh Morris on the right, who stepped inside of his man before crashing over the line.
Easts then scored off back-to-back sets when a lovely inside ball from Walker allowed James Tedesco to break the line before teeing up Sitili Tupouniua for his 11th try of the season, with Adam Keighran once again adding the extras.
Parramatta suffered another blow when Blake Ferguson was forced off shortly before the interval after suffering a nasty gash to his head following an innocuous clash with Drew Hutchison’s knee.
Sydney were on course for a fourth successive win at the break, with the Eels yet to trouble the scoreboard.
HALF-TIME: Sydney Roosters 12 Parramatta Eels 0
The Eels looked to have wrestled their way back into the game when Keighran failed to deal with a high ball on his own try line before Tom Opacic dove on the loose ball, only to have been deemed to have knocked on before grounding the ball.
Parramatta’s misery was compounded when the Roosters scored their third try of the night from the next set of six, with Hutchison finding Walker, who broke the line and threw a dummy before comfortably going over to all but secure a crucial win for his side.
The Roosters missed the chance to move four scores ahead of the Eels when Keighran’s penalty attempt came back off the left-hand post before Parramatta ran the loose ball to safety from inside their own in-goal area.
Sydney added a fourth try to their tally after 67 minutes when some excellent passing, working the ball from right to left, ended with Keighran quickly moving the ball on to Daniel Tupou: he did well to finish in the corner, with Keighran unable to add the extras.
The game continued to run away from Parramatta when Joseph Manu took a quick tap before racing over the line and underneath the posts to add some gloss to a comfortable victory against the impotent Eels, with Walker kicking the extras.
The Roosters easily saw out the final few minutes to secure a huge victory in their pursuit of a top-four finish and are now only behind the Eels on points differential. Parramatta looked lacklustre in attack once again without the influential Mitchell Moses and have a tough run home ahead of them in the next few weeks.
FULL-TIME: Sydney Roosters 28 Parramatta Eels 0
Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Eels) – hamstring
Waqa Blake (Eels) – head
Josh Morris (Roosters) – hamstring
Match Review Committee
to be advised