The Sydney Roosters effectively ended the Wests Tigers’ season tonight with a dominant 38-16 win at Leichhardt Oval.
In Trent Robinson’s 200th game as coach of the Roosters, his injury ravaged team was out of the blocks far too early for the Tigers.
The Tigers rallied after half time but, after the Roosters capitalised on a few mistakes, the game was gone.
After a solid start from the Tigers, a poor pass from Luciano Leilua gave the Roosters field position.
Tedesco made his first line break for the night putting the Tigers’ defence on the back foot.
From there, a cut out pass from Drew Hutchinson found Josh Morris who put Matt Ikuvalu over in the corner.
Tedesco’s second line break just 6 minutes later paved the way for the Roosters’ second try.
In a right side play, Kyle Flanagan drifted across field and found Joseph Manu.
He stood up the defence and got a flick pass away to Brett Morris for a 12-0 lead after 16 minutes.
The Tigers’ defence looked vulnerable across the park and things didn’t look any better when Sitili Tupouniua burst through some poor defence just a minute later.
Tupouniua’s run set up Josh Morris for his first try.
After a couple of contentious Captain’s Challenge decisions that favoured the Roosters, they were good enough to again score.
Flanagan’s rainbow pass was inch perfect for Brett Morris who was in for his second.
After just 26 minutes, the Roosters were 20 points up.
That’s the way it stayed until half time.
Michael Maguire knew his team was playing for their season and encouraged his players to throw the ball around in the second half.
And throw it around they did.
Call it helter skelter, call it razzle dazzle, call it anything you like, the Tigers played some great football after the break and the Roosters struggled to handle it.
With their defence stretched, Jacob Liddle dummied at the ruck and beat Hutchinson to score.
Just minutes later, some Benji Marshall got a magic ball to Adam Doueihi and he slammed it down.
14 minutes into the second half, the Roosters lead was reduced to 8 and the Tigers looked well on top.
From there though, a poor ball from Luke Brooks to Luke Garner and then a kick from Doueihi, which just rolled dead, stopped the Tigers’ momentum.
The seven tackle set ensuing from the Doueihi kick took the wind out of the Tigers comeback.
Tedesco turned the ball back inside to Siosiua Taukeiaho and his pass, whilst falling, to Hutchinson was special.
The try was awarded and the Roosters were back in control.
The Roosters scored two tries in the next seven minutes, one to Manu after beating three defenders and a second to Josh Morris who pounced on a loose ball, from a contested bomb, to score.
A late try to David Nofoaluma, albeit with a terrific put down, was not nearly enough for the Tigers and the Roosters edged back into the top four with a 38-16 win.
The Tigers did have their chances but will rue some mistakes made in that second half period when the game was on the line.
NRL News Player of the Game
3 points – James Tedesco (SYD) – With Luke Keary on the sidelines, Tedesco was everywhere tonight.
Other than playing a lot of first and second receiver, he made two line breaks establishing the Roosters’ early lead.
Plenty of try involvements and a safe night at the back made him a clear man of the match.
2 points – Siosiua Taukeiaho (SYD) – Taukeiaho was again immense for the Roosters, making a mountain of metres and getting 2 try assists with great balls to Tupouniua and Hutchinson.
1 point – Josh Morris (SYD) – The Morris twins are having a renaissance this season.
Josh Morris scored two tries, one long line break and negated Joey Leilua’s influence on the game.
He turns 34 tomorrow but seemingly only gets better.