One of the oldest, fiercest rivals in Australian rugby league history, the Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs clashes are always lively.
Last night was no exception as it was the Roosters who came out on top in a defensive slog to win 18-14.
The win moves the Roosters into first place for the first time in 2018 after a steady climb up the ladder.
Souths night was hampered by the early loss of Alex Johnston who left the field with a hamstring injury.
They would score the first points in the game, however, with Adam Reynolds slotting a penalty goal to put Souths up 2-0.
The first try would go to the Roosters; Victor Radley hitting the line, spinning and popping a miracle ball for James Tedesco to score.
A further penalty goal extended the Roosters lead but Reynolds had plans of his own.
Grubbering ahead, he regathered his own kick and converted to boot, before Mitchell kicked another penalty goal.
Evenly poised at half-time, it was the Roosters who led 10-8.
The Roosters would go further ahead when Joseph Manu scored on the back of a length of the field run from Blake Ferguson.
Another penalty goal put the Roosters up 18-8 but the Bunnies would grab a late try to make it interesting.
Hymel Hunt was the scorer after a behind-the-back pass by Braidon Burns.
Although his side might be first at the moment, Roosters coach Trent Robinson says they are not the only favourites.
“No, you can’t change within a night,” Robinson said.
“We haven’t been there all year. It’s insignificant, that’s changed three weeks in a row hasn’t it? Within eight days we’ve had three [favourites].
“We are where we want to be, probably would have liked to have been there earlier in the season, but we are where we want to be now and are getting better.
“But there is room for improvement, we’re not done yet.”
The injury to Johnston has Souths back-line depth even skinnier than it was, something that coach Anthony Seibold knows cannot be controlled.
“We are under the pump a bit with our outside backs so we don’t have too many options to be fair,” Seibold said.
“Gags hasn’t done any reps all season at fullback and young Tyrell, we pulled him up two days ago and he hasn’t trained with us for months.
“For him to do a good job on Latrell Mitchell … that’s why I am really proud of the effort of the guys tonight.”
Player of the Game:
3. Cooper Cronk
2. James Tedesco
- Thomas Burgess