Roosters kept their finals hopes alive with an impressive 34-12 win over fellow finals hopefuls Parramatta on Friday night at Commbank Stadium.
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Parramatta welcomed back Maika Sivo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard from lengthy suspensions, and the Eels prop got off to a good start, giving away a penalty on the fifth tackle of the game for playing the ball sideways and then burning Parramatta’s only Captain’s Challenge in the first minute of the game.
It got better for the home side, as they opened the scoring through Bryce Cartwright in the ninth minute, and it was a matter of millimetres in it as he stretched out close to the line. It was originally ruled ‘no try’ by Ashley Klein. The conversion gave Parramatta a handy 6-0 lead.
The next part of the first half was as you’d expect from these sides trying to keep their finals hopes alive: physical with the odd mistake and a penalty or two. Parramatta went the closest to scoring through Will Penisni, but was ruled out for dropping the ball over the line.
Eventually the Roosters took advantage of sustained pressure to score through James Tedesco from a scrum move 10 metres out in the 25th minute, in a little glimpse of the fullback’s best work. The conversion evened up the match at 6-6. A few minutes later the Roosters made it a second try, from the first play of a scrum, when they went the other way and Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii scored in the corner.
With just minutes until half-time, Joey Manu put on a masterclass and he pinballed his way through the Eels’ left side defence and eventually found Tedesco in support for his second try of the match. The extra points were added for the conversion and the Roosters took an 18-6 lead in the break and had really turned it on in the last 15 minutes of the half.
The second half was quite the grind early, but the Roosters were first to break into scoring just after the 50th minute, and it was Suaalii who secured his double: being on the end of a perfect Tedesco cut-out pass close to the line. Suaalii missed the conversion, but the gap was 16 points and the Eels looking unlikely to score that many in the time left.
Just after the 60th minute the Roosters lost their best player to that point: Tedesco to a HIA after he was clipped in the head by Maika Sivo as the Roosters fullback was falling to the ground. Sivo, just back from suspension, was put on report again. Not only did Tedesco fail the HIA, but it was ruled a Grade One which ensures he misses next week’s clash with the Tigers.
Within minutes Parramatta had reduced the gap when Clint Gutherson scored, who was in support of a Bailey Simonsson line break, after the Eels centre looked to have knocked on and the Roosters defence stopped – expecting a whistle.
The mini-crisis was averted with 11 minutes to go as Siua Wong was on hand for a wild pass from Sandon Smith and the Roosters forward charged onto the loose ball to score. Suaalii extended the lead to 28-12 and the Eels were done. For added salt the Roosters had one more try in them in the 80th minute: it was Nat Butcher who broke through the Parramatta line off a Luke Keary pass close to the line. The conversion gave the Roosters an impressive 34-12 win, killing off a fellow competitor for the finals.
For the Roosters it was a first win in 12 away games on a Friday against Sydney opposition, and moved them ahead of Parramatta to 28 competition points, which draws them level with old foe South Sydney (currently eighth – and the Roosters’ last round opponent). Parramatta are effectively done for finals now with a myriad of other results needed for them to progress.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 – James Tedesco (Roosters)
2 – Joey Manu (Roosters)
1 – Nat Butcher (Roosters)