The Sydney Roosters haven’t looked back in 2008, this week getting another impressive win over the Panthers at CUA Stadium. Freddy’s men proving they have the consistentcy and playing roster depth to be a real threat in this years premiership.
Second half tries to Amos Roberts, Craig Fitzgibbon and Mitchell Pearce sealed the win for the visitors after they had led 10-6 at the break in front of a healthy crowd of almost 17,000 at CUA Stadium.
The Roosters did it all without key stars Anthony Minichiello (back), Willie Mason (knee) and David Shillington (alcohol breach) while the Panthers had full-back Rhys Wesser ruled out before kick-off with a corked thigh.
The tri-colours’ win, their fourth in the five games to open 2008, put them level with the Titans on eight competition points and continued their fine record under coach Brad Fittler.
Panthers winger Luke Rooney had a nightmare second-half as the home side failed to match the discipline and determination in defence shown in the first 40 minutes.
The Roosters capitalised on two blunders from the former Australia winger to score just three minutes after the break through Roberts.
Rooney made a meal of a bomb, giving the Roosters back-to-back sets, and then let a Braith Anasta grubber kick to slide through his hands, allowing Roberts to pounce and score under the posts.
The Roosters had two tries disallowed by the video referee, but were in again in the 63rd minute when Rooney failed to defuse another bomb and Fitzgibbon was on hand to finish the job.
Half-back Mitchell Pearce capped another fine performance which enhanced his claims for the New South Wales half-back jersey when he stepped his way over for a fine solo try 10 minutes later.
The Panthers grabbed a late consolation when Michael Jennings broke the line and sent Geoff Daniela over.
The only sour point of the loss for the Roosters came through injuries to back-rower Setaimata Sa (knee) and prop Mark O’Meley (hamstring), who left the field early in the second half and didn’t return.
The first half was much more encouraging for the home fans, and the Panthers looked well in the contest when Souths-bound back-rower Luke Lewis ran 40m to score a fine solo try and cancel out Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s opener.
But substitute Frank Paul Nuuausala scored his first NRL in the 32nd minute try to send the Roosters into the break four points ahead and their lead was not threatened again.