Their start to the season was not the best but the Sydney Roosters look re-energised and rejuvenated – and it is showing – with a comprehensive 26-12 win over the Canberra Raiders.
Led by five-eighth James Maloney, who has a point to prove after being dumped by NSW for the first Origin game, the Roosters ran riot in the first half especially.
They overwhelmed their opponents from the nation’s capital with the partnership between Maloney and winger Daniel Tupou on show for all to see with sublime kicks and towering leaps.
The same cannot be said for the Canberra Raiders who are in a funk and risk the prospect of being six points adrift of the top eight by the end of round 12.
After a season that started full of promise, the Raiders have been plagued by inconsistency in many ways and cannot maintain cohesion required to win.
As any coach will tell you, the little things in rugby league matter the most and those things had Ricky Stuart disappointed with his side’s performance.
“It was the just the little things that cost us points,” said Stuart, after his side slumped to eighth loss of the year.
“Usually errors don’t always cost you points but our errors tonight cost us points.
“There were little areas in that first half; a couple of [dropped] catches in regards to kicks, a couple of penalties that they scored off.”
The loss makes the Raiders finals chances slimmer, with the club needing at least 8 wins from their remaining games to reach 30 points.
Despite the loss, though, Stuart believes the side showed heart and that they are improving.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the scoreline but I see a squad of players there improving,” said Stuart.
“With that score line at half-time, [if we were] a team that lacks a bit of heart and camaraderie, team spirit, I believe that the Roosters probably would have went on with it.
“They didn’t fluke [the 2013 premiership]. They’re an absolute class group of players and for what we did tonight showed improvement in where we’re going and a fair bit of courage and commitment.”
Although the Roosters momentum continued overall, it was the first half that saw them do most of their damage and coach Trent Robinson knows they need fluidity for the entire game.
“Yeah, I thought we set it up in the first half and I thought Canberra were good in D,” said Robinson.
“We came out in the second half and did a good job for 10-15 minutes there and then we fell off. We weren’t ruthless enough there to finish it off.”
3. James Maloney
2. Jack Wighton
1. Dylan Napa