Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco

The Sydney Roosters have welcomed back Sonny Bill Williams in style, downing the Canberra Raiders in a comprehensive 18-6 victory.

It took until the last quarter of the game but Rugby League fans worldwide finally were able to witness the return of the great SBW to the National Rugby League after six years in the international wilderness of the 15-man game.

But it was the Roosters number one that lit up the nation’s capital on Saturday night, with the current King of Bondi, James Tedesco proving why he’s the first name picked each week and each Origin.

Tedesco would open the scoring in just the fifth minute with a now expected unstoppable run at the line, after (rightfully) deciding he should go himself.

The results speak for the themselves.

While alarm bells must have been ringing for last year’s runner-ups, Ricky Stuart’s men started hitting back immediately and gained the upper hand in the following five minutes of play.

Their roll culminated with an outstanding piece of individual brilliance from the sadly departing John Bateman.

He chased his own grubber to plant the ball down and bring the Raiders right back in to the game.

The Raiders, and the NRL, are losing a talent.

The match remained in the balance at half-time, despite a leaping Daniel Tupou providing Easts with a handy four-point lead.

Josh Papalii left the field with an AC joint injury and didn’t return, which should surely send a shiver down Ricky’s spine.

A frenetic first half with the promise of more to come and the return of SBW.

This was a grand final rematch that had you on the edge of your seat.

Surprisingly, it was a 42 metre penalty goal from Kyle Flanagan that resulted in the first points of the second half – after fourteen minutes.

Luke Keary was almost nowhere to be seen in his returning game up to this point.

Sonny Bill would finally enter the field in the 58th minute to rapturous boos from the Canberra faithful.

The 35-year-old professional looked every bit a player who has barely played Rugby League in six years.

It was only minutes after the frantic first touches of SBW that Tedesco regathered his own grubber to storm home for try number two.

Up by two converted tries, with less than 20 minutes remaining, few teams are able to claw back a victory from the resilient Sydney Roosters.

True to form, their defense was impeccable, shrugging off the best efforts of a Raiders team that seemed closer to the answers 12 months ago.

The Roosters record their 12th win of the season and temporarily move to third on the ladder, pending the results of the Warriors and Eels game tomorrow afternoon.

Canberra, meanwhile, will go back to the drawing board as they remain on fifth, two points adrift of the top four and only three games remaining in the regular season.

As for Sonny Bill, the great man managed four runs and six tackles in 14 minutes before limping off with about eight minutes left to run in the game.

Cobwebs dusted, you’ll get ’em next time big fella.


Sydney Roosters 18 (Tupou, Tedesco 2) def Canberra Raiders 6 (Bateman)


Jarrod Croker 1/1

Kyle Flanagan 2/3

Penalty Goals

Kyle Flanagan 1/1

NRL News Player of the Match

3 Points – James Tedesco

2 Points – Siosiua Taukeiaho

1 Point –  Freddy Lussick

Sydney Roosters forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho

By rcurran

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