The Roosters welcome back Keary, despite losing their Origin players, as they take on a Wests Tigers side minus Mbye on Friday Night.
The Tigers came with a game plan to throw the ball around and test the Roosters fitness in defence. And while it appeared their attacking style was going to get them over the line, the Roosters were able to run down their early second half lead and push on with the result. And Luke Keary’s return proved successful kicking strongly and coming up with some crucial try scoring passes. There was none more crucial then his pass for Tupou for their second try of the match. With the Tigers holding a narrow 8-6 advantage-after tries to Butcher and Matterson within the first ten minutes- a mistake off a Cooper Cronk kick fell into Luke Keary’s hands. Keary proceeded to throw an audacious over head pass, which found Daniel Tupou unmarked out wide. That was the final try of the half with the Tigers coming close through a Corey Thompson break in the shadows of halftime. The fullback elected to throw the pass to his support when going himself appeared the better option.
Down 12-8, the Tigers came out fired up at the start of the second half. Their enterprising play found space and tired defenders and it seemed like they were a chance of running away with things. They scored back-to-back tries with the first coming off a break down the right hand side before a quick shift to the left and a Benji Marshall cut out pass to Paul Momirovski to cross for the first try of the half. Esan Masters was next to score off a Benji Marshall play, this time from a kick and the Tigers were able to take the lead. But as the match turned into a grind, the Roosters were able to reclaim momentum and it started from a Victor Radley try with good lead up work from Keary and Mitchell. Keary put them back on the attack through an excellent kick and then helped create a chance for Latrell Mitchell, who celebrated wildly after pushing the Tigers defenders out of the way to the try line. It took the score to 24-16 and-despite some desperate efforts from the Tigers- was where the match would stay.
Luke Keary has brushed off any concerns there were over his fitness after a few weeks off with concussion. And he showed that there would be no side effects by taking the first run of the game and his influence on the match only grew. He helped create three of their four tries and his kicking game was instrumental in placing late pressure on the Tigers.
THE LUXURY OF DEPTH
The Roosters were down their first choice fullback but were able to call upon Kiwi international Joseph Many as Tedesco’s replacement. He showed glimpses of his best but didn’t end up finishing the match due to the HIA. It forced the experienced Brett Morris back to fullback. It’s this kind of depth that some of the injury hit sides could only dream of.
TIGERS POINT TO PROVE
The Tigers have stuck solid in defence for most of 2019 and will be proud of their defensive efforts tonight. But it was their attack that sprung into life on the night, choosing to move the ball around and test the Roosters defence. It’s been a lean year for the Tigers attack but they’ll take the 16 points against one of the best defensive teams for the past few years.
BIG WEEK FOR BENJI
Benji Marshall came close to orchestrating an upset win of the Tigers. His pass to Momirovski was vintage Marshall and his deft touch to set up Esan Masters was pure class. And it comes on the cusp of his 300th game a milestone that he will reach next Sunday against the Parramatta Eels.
Wests Tigers 16
Tries: Ryan Matterson, Paul Momirovski, Esan Marsters
Goals: Esan Masters 2/4
Wests Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Robert Jennings 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 15. Thomas Mikaele 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Matt Eisenhuth Bench: 8. Josh Aloiai 14. Jacob Liddle 16. Elijah Taylor 17. Michael Chee-Kam
Sydney Roosters: 1. Joseph Manu 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Brett Morris 5. Ryan Hall 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Zane Tetevano 11. Nat Butcher 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Isaac Liu Bench: 14. Angus Crichton 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Sitili Tupouniua 21. Sam Verrills