An under-strength Sydney Roosters side has dismantled the West Tigers by 40-6 on a wet Sunday afternoon at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
After a solid start by the Tigers, the Roosters’ first try came slightly against the run of play.
Taking full advantage of a set restart, the Roosters ran a short side play.
James Tedesco threw a perfect cut-out ball to Joseph Manu who found Brett Morris. Morris kicked back inside and Tedesco was on the spot.
It was the first attack on the Tigers’ left edge, a good indication of what was to come.
They were in again just seven minutes later, again targeting the Leilua brothers and Luke Brooks on the Tigers’ left side.
A terrific catch and pass from Lachlan Lam put Brett Morris into space and he was good enough to score.
The Tigers hit back just inside the first twenty minutes.
After a Captain’s Challenge fell the way of Wests, Jacob Liddle did some nice work out of dummy half to plant the ball on the line. It was as good as it got for the Tigers.
Whilst the Tigers went through perhaps their best part of the game, led by the elusive Daine Laurie, it was the Roosters who scored with 5 minutes to go in the first half.
Luke Keary held the ball up nicely for Sitili Tupouniua and he was too strong for Luke Brooks in a one-on-one contest.
The Roosters went into the break 18-6 leaders, with all three tries scored on the Tigers’ left side. Joey Leilua alone missed 5 tackles.
If anything, the Roosters turned it up a notch at the start of the second half.
Seven minutes in, Keary beat Brooks for pace and drew Laurie before a superb flick pass to Brett Morris who was in for his second.
Minutes later, a Keary grubber deflected off Luciano Leilua, wrong-footing Laurie and giving Tedesco the easiest of tries.
The Roosters made it 34-6 with eleven minutes to go. Manu drifted across the field and turned Lindsay Collins back inside into a huge gap.
His pass to Fletcher Baker was a thing old forwards only dream about and the Roosters debutant was in.
Four minutes later, a Keary chip was taken uncontested by Manu, Collins was there for the pass and Brett Morris scored in the corner for back-to-back hattricks.
Tedesco’s perfect conversion from the sideline just confirmed that the Roosters were having a day out.
For the Roosters, it was perfect preparation for next Friday’s match-up with the Rabbitohs.
Trent Robinson was critical of the Roosters’ flat spot but thought the second half was much more polished.
For the Tigers, Michael McGuire’s press conference was all about players taking accountability and not drifting in and out of games.
Luke Brooks was a case in point. He made some line breaks this afternoon but his kicking game was way off the mark.
Robinson praised winger Brett Morris for the form he is currently in.
“B-Moz scoring another there … is nice for him to get rewards for how much he works in our game,” Robinson said.
Also drawing praise was Tedesco, who has cemented his spot as the best in the game.
“What he’s doing is pretty remarkable in the number of ways he’s playing the game,” Robinson said of his No.1.
“He’s doing the traditional fullback kick-return role, then he’s doing a forward’s role in the middle of the ruck, he plays a halves role, he plays a high-support role, he swings out the back like a fullback.
“He’s a very, very good player. I think I understated him.
“He’s changing the way that I traditionally saw a fullback.”
As the Tigers look down in the doldrums, coach Michael Maguire says when there are changes to be made, he will make them.
“I’ll make changes where I feel fit,” Maguire said.
“Ultimately, we can’t accept that scoreline and the result … How we train and we go about things at training, that’s what fixes those results.
“It’s a very simple fix, but you’ve got to have the right attitude.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Luke Keary (SYD)
2. James Tedesco (SYD)
1. Lindsay Collins (SYD)