Roosters hold on for narrow win despite late Bulldogs surge

Daniel Mortimer

The talking point was not on the game itself but on the return of Sonny Bill Williams to his old stomping ground, ANZ Stadium, as he played his former team the Canterbury Bulldogs.

SBW as they call him, now at the Sydney Roosters, was in superb nick as he filled in at five-eighth due to the loss of some Origin stars for the Roosters, as he, Daniel Mortimer and Boyd Cordner shone in a narrow 20-18 win over the Bulldogs.

It was cruise control for the Roosters for the most part, before two late tries for the Dogs gave them a slim hope but they could not get the final points needed to win.

There was some doubt over Williams heading into the game after he twinged his hamstring the day before, but he played and had a solid game from a position that he was playing in for the first time.

On debut for the Roosters, young gun Dylan Napa made his presence felt in attack and defence but was put on report, after a shoulder charge-type tackle made contact with the head of James Graham, who did not return after that.

Despite the injury, Williams played the whole game but did admit that he was struggling with 20 minutes to go as a result.

“I had physio three times yesterday and iced up pretty much all night and then online blackjack with real people this morning had to take a couple of pain killers,” Williams said.

“If it was any other week and we had a full strength side, I’d probably just try and get it ready for the next week.

“But because we were under-strength I knew I had to try and get out there for the boys.”

Robinson, who was pleased with the win by his side, said that he was willing to let Williams make the decision as to whether or not he played.

“I didn’t even ask him after the warm-up because he would have told me if he wasn’t right, so he played and played well,” Robinson said.

When it came to Napa being put on report, Robinson thought it wast a shoulder charge.

“It looked like a shoulder charge but I’m hoping he got his arm around it,” said Robinson.

Bulldgos coach Des Hasler knows that the Roosters were the better side, with the Roosters playing harder, running harder and tackling harder.

“They ran a little bit harder, they tackled a little bit harder and consequently they did enough to hang on,” Hasler said of the Roosters.

“We’ve been up for a little while, but there was plenty for us to play (for) tonight coming off the back of a win last week and heading into the bye.”

3. Daniel Mortimer
2. Sonny Bill Williams
1. Boyd Cordner

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