Carrying a quad strain into the game that hampered some of his running ability, it was ultimately a darting run late in the game that proved the difference as Shaun Johnson scored the winning try.
The late try resulted in a 12-10 win for the New Zealand Warriors, continuing their recent mid-season revival.
The try came late on in the game – in the 63rd minute – with the Warriors other points all coming from the boot of Issac Luke.
Wearing the 2002 heritage jersey from their grand final appearance in that same year, the win was a stark difference from the previous weeks where the Warriors attack was flowing.
They came out of the blocks slowly in this game, with their attack sputtering on occasion. That was the doing of the Roosters who slowed down the play the ball and the ruck.
The Warriors failed to pack the required punch to begin with and instead, gave away penalties that put them on the back foot repeatedly.
The pressure was telling as the Roosters eventually scored but not after a moment of controversy.
Joseph Manu raced ahead and looked certain to score but was taken out by Warriors winger Ken Maumalo. The decision was sent upstairs, with many believing that it should have been a penalty try.
The video ref had other ideas, though, instead ruling that Maumalo be penalised only. He was then sent to the sin-bin by ref Jared Maxwell for a professional foul.
Off the ensuing set, the Roosters opened the try-scoring account after some good second phase play led to a Mitch Aubusson try.
Time went on and cometh the man, cometh the hour, as the Johnson magic we are so accustomed to seeing came to the fore, gifting the Warriors a win.
Although the Roosters scored a late try through Connor Watson, the Warriors held firm to record their seventh win of the year and remain on the cusp of the eight.
After two big wins the previous weeks, this win was even more satisfying for coach Andrew McFadden given the tough nature of it.
“I was extremely pleased with the overall performance. Iâ€™d say it was better than the last two [wins],” McFadden said.
“Just because we got challenged today by a very determined team and then we had our own internal challenges in terms of changes.
“I donâ€™t think we have had too many games like that, so thatâ€™s very satisfying that one.”
Despite the loss for his side, Roosters coach Trent Robinson was pleased with the effort and courageousness his side showed.
“Very proud of the way the guys played, I thought we came out and we decided to play a certain way and we put pressure on the Warriors,” Robinson said.
“I thought we saw a courageous team out there tonight, I thought they fought hard against the Warriors and against some adversity there.
“I was really proud and then really disappointed that we couldnâ€™t take some of those opportunities [with the ball].”
Player of the Game:
3. Kane Evans
2. Shaun Johnson
1. Tuimoala Lolohea
Warriors 12 (Shaun Johnson try; Issac Luke 4 goals) defeated Sydney Roosters 10 (Mitchell Aubusson, Connor Watson tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 1 goal) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 14,026. Half-time: Roosters 4-2. Sin bin: Ken Maumalo (professional foul). On report: Toafofoa Sipley (Warriors).