The Sydney Roosters have charged to an emphatic 24-0 win in today’s much-awaited 19th-round NRL clash against the Vodafone Warriors at Allianz Stadium.
After a scoreless opening quarter the Roosters profited from their superior completion rate to score three tries in the space of 11 minutes and then struck again in the opening moments of the second half.
It had followed a period of play when the Vodafone Warriors had been very much in a contest with plenty of heat in it, the Roosters bringing a game a big step up from what Melbourne had delivered last week.
Early on the Vodafone Warriors were saved by another solid defensive play from Jonathan Wright when he defused a bomb and they needed Sam Tomkins’ last-ditch defence to stop Blake Ferguson when he broke through.
Twice sets in possession spluttered on the Vodafone Warriors’ right but they held firm in the opening 10 minutes, gradually settling into their work and shaping well on attack without quite being able to put their plays together.
The best early opportunity came when Shaun Johnson put a rampaging Bodene Thompson through a hole. Thompson played the ball quickly … only for no one to be at dummy half. The chance was lost.
There was always going to be plenty of heavy contact in the middle and it duly came, most notably in collisions between Ben Matulino and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
With the match 17 minutes in, the Vodafone Warriors had a huge chance of opening the scoring. Chad Townsend stepped his way through the line, shimmying past Mitchell Pearce and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck only to stumble and lose the ball close to the line. Solomone Kata grabbed it and put the ball down but the video referral confirmed the anticipated knock-on.
The Vodafone Warriors have had issues with their error count much of the season and it was costing them again, along with penalties being conceded. The Roosters, on the other hand, were more secure with their ball security and eventually the pressure told.
When they threatened on their left side, David Fusitu’a was penalised for going high on his opposite Michael Jennings handing the home side a repeat set almost on the Vodafone Warriors’ line. This time the Vodafone Warriors couldn’t turn the Roosters away, hooker Jake Friend sliding through a grubber for Aidan Guerra to score in the 21st minute. James Maloney converted and it was 6-0.
From the restart the Roosters picked up another penalty and from the repeat set they hit their right, giving Ferguson early ball and an invitation to steam over. Maloney made it 12-0.
The Vodafone Warriors needed some possession but the momentum was totally with the Roosters after the initial sorting out phase.
They were looking down the barrel of a third straight try, Pearce dropping a bomb which was set to bring more points but the Vodafone Warriors scrambled to avert the danger.
Indeed they headed down the other end, gained a penalty and threw some threats at the Roosters only for the attack to falter again. It was expensive.
Rolling downfield, Maloney launched a bomb towards the posts. Tuivasa-Sheck timed his run and leap brilliantly, claiming the ball to score under the bar and it was 18-0 after 33 minutes.
The Vodafone Warriors stayed on task to stem the flow making it to halftime with the score unchanged.
Needing to regroup, they had the worst possible start to the second spell, though, as the Roosters cut loose for Maloney to score and convert leaving the visitors with a grim fight on their hands.
More damage was in prospect in the 54th minute, the big man Ferguson kicking clear again down the Roosters' right. A try was beckoning but Tomkins, having a strong game, produced a superb try saver.
For the next 38 minutes after Maloney's try, the Vodafone Warriors defended admirably, in fact courageously because the score could so easily have blown out. While doing well protecting their line from being penetrated again, they set about finding points of their own but came up empty.
That's because the Roosters, having built a 24-0 lead, were equally impressive defensively, nullifying all the Vodafone Warriors mounted throughout the rest of the match.
The result means the Vodafone Warriors slip out of the top four after just one week in. In the ultra-tight competition they are now seventh, one of four teams in fifth spot on 22 points, two behind the fourth-placed South Sydney.
They now have three home games in a row starting with Manly at Mount Smart Stadium next Saturday (5.00pm kick-off).
Match details | Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Sydney Roosters 24 (Aidan Guerra, Blake Ferguson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney tries; James Maloney 4 conversions).
Vodafone Warriors 0.
Halftime: 18-0 Roosters.
Referees: Matt Cecchin and Grant Atkins.
Vodafone Warriors | Sam Tomkins; Tuimoala Lolohea, David Fusitu’a, Solomone Kata, Jonathan Wright; Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson; Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino; Bodene Thompson, Raymond Faitala-Mariner; Simon Mannering (c). Interchange: Siliva Havili, Sione Lousi, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Sam Rapira.