With his departure imminent at the end of the season, Roosters fans have been waiting for a dominant performance from Sonny Bill Williams and they got it, as the Sydney Roosters steamrolled the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Scoring a double, setting up a try and causing havoc on the fringe for the Dogs defence – especially against the newcomer Moses Mbye – the Roosters had too much for the Dogs, who just could not keep up.
With a point to prove for both James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce after they missed out on selection for NSW, both did some good things and helped to set up the Roosters win.
It was a spiteful match with several biffs occurring throughout the game and with niggling tactics by both sides to get under each others skins, something had to give.
It eventually did, with Dogs centre Tim Lafai sent to the bin for a professional foul before team-mate David Klemmer was put on report for dangerous conduct after raising his foot whilst carrying the ball.
There was also a question of diving taking place on the part of the Bulldogs and for Roosters coach Trent Robinson, he was not impressed.
“There were a couple of times they were down there, waiting for the penalty,” said Robinson.
“It’s disappointing, but we can’t change that, all we can do is do what we do.
“There was no way he (Ennis) was concussed.”
With confusion over the new concussion rules, Robinson backs them but calls on all clubs to have some integrity.
“There is always that risk but we had to bring it in, that was the important thing,” Robinson said.
“I wasn’t sure if I was for it or not but we have learnt a lot about safety this year and we needed it.
“We need to get those guys off that do get concussed. We just have to have some integrity in our clubs to make sure we use it properly.”
With the pressure on Pearce ahead of the clash, Robinson was quick to praise his halfback after the game.
“I thought (Pearce’s) kicking was exceptional. I thought he put a lot of pressure on the Bulldogs with his kicking.
“He was really lively in support and I thought he led the team around well. We needed him this week.
“Everyone speculates about how he’s going to react, he just does what Pearcey does; he went out and played footy.”
For the Dogs, with their Origin stars missing, it was clear that they struggled without a dominant half. Although Moses Mbye did his best to spark the side, coach Des Hasler knows the little things cost his side.
“It was always going to be a bit difficult tonight. Usually is against sides in this Origin period,” Hasler said after the game.
“I thought we fought pretty well at 14-12 about a third of the way through the second half, we right up into by our necks but probably throughout the game we had a few fundamental errors and the penalties really hurt us.
“I thought the bloke with the whistle was a bit dodgy on a couple of his calls. He was actually a bit dodgy last week with some of his calls against the Warriors so that’s maybe something Tony Archer can look at and we probably had some tough calls go against us.”
3. Sonny Bill Williams
2. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
1. Nene MacDonald