Andrew Pelechaty reviews the Saturday night blockbuster between Cronulla-Sutherland and the Sydney Roosters…
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 16
Tries: Ronaldo Mulitalo (55), Sione Katoa (64), Cameron McInnes (69)
Goals: Nicholas Hynes 2 (56, 70)
Sydney Roosters 36
Tries: Daniel Tupou 2 (3, 20), Nat Butcher (27), James Tedesco (30), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (49), Joseph Manu (75), Connor Watson (78)
Goals: Sam Walker 4 (21, 29, 76, 80)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
After Penrith’s one-sided win over North Queensland, this clash at Shark Park shaped as the game of the round, even though both teams have been inconsistent of late.
The Eastern Suburbs club were the first to score after a blind-side dart from Drew Hutchinson and an offload to Daniel Tupou. Sam Walker missed the conversion as the Roosters led 4-0 after five minutes.
James Tedesco nearly scored the Roosters’ second try, but knocked on close to the tryline.
Joseph Suaalii earnt the Roosters an attacking scrum with some great defence. The Roosters quickly took advantage with Tupou’s second try as they ran down the left from the scrum in a nice set play. It was almost like a training drill. Walker converted as the Roosters led 10-0 after 21 minutes.
The Roosters went further ahead off a beautiful pass by Tedesco to Nat Butcher, this time going down the right. Walker converted for a 16-0 lead.
Teddy scored his first try as the Roosters went down the left again. This game already mirrored the Sharks’ big Magic Round loss against Canberra, when they trailed 20-0 at half-time. That same 20-0 margin remained as Walker missed the conversion. It was a timely return to form for Teddy (one tries and 130 All Running Metres) with Origin around the corner.
HALF-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 Sydney Roosters 20Embed from Getty Images
There was a comical start to the second half as the kicking tee was lost. While it was eventually found, the Sharks probably weren’t amused by the delay following their poor first half.
After absorbing about 20 tackles of pressure from the Sharks, the Roosters put the game away, capitalising from a Tedesco 50-metre break, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves scoring. While Walker missed the conversion, the Roosters looked safe at 24-0. The Sharks’ inconsistent recent form was continuing, facing their third loss in their past five games. As for the Roosters, they were starting to warm up after shock losses to St George Illawarra and Canterbury-Bankstown, heading for their third win in their last four games.
Cronulla-Sutherland finally scored through Ronaldo Mulitalo (converted by Nicho Hynes) though it was probably too little, too late against at electric Roosters team, even though they’d lost Suaalii to a HIA.
The Sharks scored their second try with Sione Katoa reaching out in the right corner, trimming the margin to 24-10 with 14 left and giving the Sharks a glimmer of hope.
That glimmer became a lot brighter when Cameron McInnes scored. While there was some nervous moments when the try was referred to the Bunker for the grounding, it still passed (for once, common sense prevailed). Hynes converted to cut the lead to 24-16 with 11 minutes left and previously comfortable Roosters fans getting nervous.
Even the previously faultless Tedesco dropped a kick on his line, giving the Sharks another shot, but the Roosters’ defence held firm.
The Roosters finally put the game away for good when Joseph Manu scooped up a loose Sharks’ pass and ran 60 metres.
Connor Watson scored the final try for the Roosters, with the 20-point margin reflecting their first half dominance, and an important win with the tough Origin period coming up.
FULL-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 16 Sydney Roosters 36
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – James Tedesco (Roosters), 2 pts – Joseph Suaalii (Roosters), 1 pt – Ronaldo Mulitalo (Sharks)
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