The Sydney Roosters have achieved their fourth straight victory and a share of the competition lead thanks to a gritty 19-10 win over a tenacious Wests Tigers outfit at a sodden Sydney Football Stadium tonight.
The incessant rain in Sydney was always going to mean a tight, rugged match, with the larger Roosters forward pack dominating their more mobile rivals, much to the delight of the 15,204 loyal Roosters crowd who braved the chilly, wet conditions.
Wests were finding plenty of holes on the outside edges early, but their poor ball control not only cruelled any point scoring opportunities, but also their energy in the extra defensive workload.
It took until the 27th minute before the Roosters opened the scoring through a dubious try to winger Amos Roberts, with the veteran winger accepting a suspect pass from Sia Soliola to complete a slick backline movement.
Sydney skipper Craig Fitzgibbon converted magnificently in the driving rain from the sideline to push the home side out to a crucial 6-0 lead given the inclement conditions.
The brilliance of Anthony Tupou allowed Sydney to push further ahead just moments later; the Origin backrower attracting four Tigers defenders before twisting and offloading back to a flying Mitchell Aubusson to score, with Fitzgibbonâ€™s simple conversion making it 12-0 after 33 minutes.
Sydney looked to have extended their lead even further just three minutes later thanks to yet another Tigers handling error, however video referee Chris Ward denied a try to Mitchell Pearce, leaving the Roosters with a handy 12-0 half-time advantage.
Two pieces of individual brilliance from Robbie Farah allowed the Tigers to get back into the game just after the break, with the talented Wests hooker first putting the visitors in decent attacking position after craftily finding touch from a 20 metre tap restart.
And just three tackles off the back of the scrum restart, Farah spotted a small gap up the middle of the ruck, crashing through three Roosters defenders to provide the Tigers with their first points of the night.
Tigers skipper Brett Hodgson made neat work of the simple conversion, to make it game on at 12-6 in the 47th minute.
And just as Wests were starting to mount some concerted pressure, it was the man Aubusson that produced a scintillating, sixty metre solo effort to break the visitorâ€™s momentum.
Under the direction of coach Tim Sheens on the sideline, Benji Marshall attempted to pop an early kick over the top for winger Taniela Tuiaki, which ricocheted into the arms of a flying Aubusson who proceeded to swat away three Wests defenders in a barnstorming run to the line.
Tuiaki did eventually get his chance to get on the outside of the Roosters defence, charging downfield off a neat inside ball from Dean Collis, before finally being pulled down just inches short of the line after a sixty metre charge.
A Farah grubber off the next play looked to have provided a four pointer to rookie winger Beau Ryan; however video referee Ward miraculously found the slightest of knock ons to thwart the Tigers come back chances.
Tuiaki made no mistakes moments later when he gave his side a sniff with a typically powerhouse four-pointer, but Hodgsonâ€™s sideline conversion attempt in monsoonal conditions just splayed wide, leaving the Roosters clinging to an 18-10 advantage inside the final ten minutes.
However, the rain and the determined Roosters defence prevented the Tigers from a last gasp victory, with a late field goal to Sydney half Pearce completing the scoring for the night.
Sydney Roosters 19
Tries: Mitchell Aubusson 2, Amos Roberts
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 3, Mitchell Pearce field goal
Wests Tigers 10
Tries: Robbie Farah, Taniela Tuiaki
Goals: Brett Hodgson
At Sydney Football Stadium
Referee â€“ Tony Archer
Crowd â€“ 15,204