It would be safe to presume that no-one was expecting that sort of scoreline but it happened, as the Sydney Roosters obliterated the Cronulla Sharks, cruising to a 40-0 victory at Allianz Stadium.
It was halfback Mitch Pearce who stole the show with some lovely, crisp passing, just days after his Origin performance was criticised by fans.
It was Pearce who laid on three tries and had a hand in another, as the Roosters cemented their spot in the top 2 and recorded their fifth shut-out of the season, equalling the current record.
With the pressure on, Roosters caoch Trent Robinson gave his halfback a ton of praise.
“Champions don’t stay down for long. He’s such a fighter,” Robinson said.
“We talked about the spotlight he put on himself on Wednesday night. Obviously he came up a bit short for NSW and he was under it again and he came out and performed.
“You can’t create those qualities. You can improve skills and stuff, but not those qualities.
“That’s why everybody in our club jumped behind him, because we knew he produces for us. That’s what he does.”
Someone else who was not surprised by the play of Pearce, was veteran fullback Anthony Minichiello, who also praised the halfback.
“I got a phone call from him this morning. He was pumped to play and it showed out there,” he said.
“He controlled the team and threw some Cialis 10mg nice passes for tries and his kicking was great. It was a really good effort. He was outstanding.”
With the Sharks missing several key first-graders in Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Wade Graham, it was up to the fringe forwards to step up – though coach Shane Flanagan was not about to use that as an excuse.
“As I said to the boys, we didn’t have any players making his debut. We had 17 players out there and for me they were 17 first graders,” Flanagan said.
“So that’s not an excuse.”
At half-time, it was not a pretty sight, with the Sharks trailing 28-0 and Flanagan admitted as such.
“It wasn’t pretty. They were good and we were bad,” Flanagan said.
“I think they’re a serious footy team, but we’re a lot better than we showed tonight.
“It was a tough night, that’s for sure.”
It might get more complicated for the Sharks, with fill-in halfback Chad Townsend placed on report and Andrew Fifita suffering a minor hip injury.
With a big game against Penrith next week, the Sharks know they they have to improve. Fast.
“We’ve got to turn it around and we’ve got to turn it around quick,” said Sharks playmaker Todd Carney.
“Because if we don’t, we’ll be chasing our season in the next few weeks and we don’t want to be doing that.”
3. Mitchell Pearce
2. Boyd Cordner
1. Sam Moa