With all the hype and the emotion of the game centered around Sonny Bill Williams playing against his former club the Canterbury Bulldogs, the overall result was not one that many people would have expected.
Billed as one of the matches of the round and with many projecting a closely-fought contest, it was anything but, as both Sonny Bill Williams and James Maloney were at their scintillating best, running rings around the Bulldogs defence and leading their side to victory.
On the receiving end of jeering and booing from Bulldogs fans, given the way in which he left the club all those years ago, it was Sonny Bill Williams who got the last laugh, as he scored twice and set up another try.
The Roosters defensive efforts did not go unnoticed, either, with the club now holding three sides to nil so far this season in just 6 rounds – as SBW looked to focus on his own game and not the hostile crowd.
“Emotionally I knew I could drown it out,” Williams said.
“I said during the week I understand some of the ill-feeling towards me from the fans but, for myself, it was never about the players that I played with or the fans. I always had a pretty good relationship with them.”
Arguably his best game to date since returning to League, despite his side’s opponents, SBW said his performance had nothing to do with the side that he was coming up against.
“To be honest, everyone around me was making more of a deal of it than I was.
“I’ve played on some pretty big occasions. For me, I knew the way to get the best out of myself was to be diligent in my preparation.
“It’s pretty easy for myself to shut everything off and concentrate on what I need to do.”
Disappointed after his side’s rather poor effort, the solution was a simple one for Bulldogs coach Des Hasler and it involves going back to basics.
“We have to fix it; we have to complete sets; we have to build some pressure,” he said.
“We’re a bit out of sorts. It’s round six, but we’ve got some work to do and we’ll do it and we’ll bounce back from this.”
3. James Maloney
2. Sonny Bill Williams
1. Jake Friend.