Billed as one of the matches of the year, it lived up to the expectations, as the Sydney Roosters defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs 38-28 at Allianz Stadium.
Despite coming back from 22-0 down at one point to take the lead – it would have been the Bulldogs greatest ever comeback had they won – a few tries to the Roosters late on meant that they got the crucial win to cement their top four aspirations.
In a sign as to just how quickly momentum can shift, the first half was a tale of two halves within itself. The Roosters burst out of the blocks and were all over the Bulldogs, before the second stanza of the half saw it reverse.
It was the Bulldogs who then overpowered and manhandled the Roosters defence, as they clawed their way back into the contest before eventually taking the lead at one point.
The shoulder charge debate also reared its ugly head once more, with Roosters prop Kane Evans putting on a perfectly executed shoulder charge on rival prop, Sam Kasiano. Though with the shoulder charge now a banned action in the NRL, Evans was swiftly placed on report.
The Roosters, donning their Marvel Superhero jersey, were treated to a superhero like effort from centre Michael Jennings who appeared out of nowhere and flew through the air to ground the ball for a try that he had no right to get to.
The win is the seventh straight for the Roosters whilst the Dogs are left to rely on other results as to whether or not they drop out of the top eight.
There was one downside to the win, though, with prop Sam Moa potentially requiring season-ending surgery on a wrist injury.
Momentum was the key in this game and Roosters coach Trent Robinson knew just how important it was.
“Everybody had little momentum changes that we were trying to push it back in our favour and eventually we did,” Robinson said.
As for Moa’s injury, Robinson admits he is unsure of the specific diagnosis.
“Dislocated wrist. They’re either trying to put it back in or they’ll get it back in tomorrow (Saturday),” Robinson said.
“I’m not sure [how long he’ll be out]. Possibly, if they can’t get it back in it might [require surgery]. I know they were having trouble when I left so they may have to put him under to get it back in.”
Player of the Game:
3. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
2. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
1. James Maloney
Sydney Roosters 38 (Tupou 2, Jennings 2, Tuivasa-Sheck, Ferguson, Hastings tries; Maloney 5 goals) defeated Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 28 (Thompson 2, Lane, J Morris, Hodkinson tries; Hodkinson 4 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Half time: Roosters 22-16. Crowd: 13,589. On report: Kane Evans.