Filling in after an injury to Brett Morris, Matt Ikuvalu scored five tries in the Sydney Roosters demolition of the North Queensland Cowboys.
Ikuvalu joins the likes of Brian Allsop, Dave Brown and others to have scored five tries in a game for the club.
The game did not start smoothly for the Roosters, though.
It was the Cowboys who had the early running and possession; only errors and poor decisions letting them down.
A surprising move was the decision to switch Valentine Holmes to the wing.
Not 100%, he would eventually hobble off with a re-occurrence of his injury.
Jake Friend also left the field for the Roosters with a head knock just over the quarter mark of the game.
The Cowboys pressure eventually paid off; Reece Robson darted over from dummy half to give them a surprise lead.
From there, it was all downhill for the Cowboys.
In the space of just thirty-three minutes across the two halves, the Roosters scored eight tries.
Led by their main man in James Tedesco and barnstorming prop Siosiua Taukeiaho, the tries flowed quickly.
It was some silky hands by Tedesco to find Kyle Flanagan, before he found Ikuvalu for his first.
Taukeiaho then stood up, busting through the line with ease and finding fellow prop Poasa Faamausili inside to score a try.
Ikuvalu would then nab two more tries in quick succession to score his hat-trick.
The first was a tremendous airborne leap that saw him soar, land and score, almost effortlessly.
That was followed up by another impressive try, as the winger just managed to stay in play and tip-toed down the sideline.
Tedesco then turned the game on its head, once again combining with Flanagan who put Luke Keary over to score.
A rare break for Lindsay Collins through the middle off a Tedesco pass resulted in a second try for Keary.
Ikuvalu would grab his fourth when Flanagan found him with a long cut-out pass and he easily beat Ben Hampton one-on-one.
His fifth came after a pinpoint cross-field kick from Keary, as Ikuvalu once again soared high to score.
There were two late consolations for the Cowboys but they are left with more questions than answers.
Coen Hess barged over from close range before Robson produced a similar darting dummy half run to score his second try.
Post-game, there was praise galore from Roosters coach Trent Robinson for Ikuvalu.
“[Matt] deserves real credit for preparation – that was a night for how you should prepare yourself in the shadows and then get the rewards under the spotlight when the time comes,” Robinson said.
“That’s a great story.”
Not one to mince his words, Cowboys coach Paul Green admitted his side’s confidence is currently in a fragile state.
“When something goes against us, as a team we just need to be a little bit tougher mentally to be able to cope with that and get back into the game,” Green said.
“One try is quickly becoming two, becoming three.
“At half-time it was a good contest, we were in amongst it, but the start of that second half made it very difficult.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Siosiua Taukeiaho
2. James Tedesco
- Matt Ikuvalu