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Resilient Roosters defend their way to hard-fought win

The Roosters are back into the top eight on the Telstra Premiership ladder, defending their way to a hard-fought 14-0 victory over the Warriors in Auckland on Sunday afternoon.

Tries to edge forwards Nat Butcher and Sitili Tupouniua set up the win in wet and miserable conditions for the Tricolours but it was the defensive effort from Trent Robinson's men that set the tone throughout the contest.

The Warriors enjoyed most of the field position throughout the afternoon but couldn't come up with any points in attack as the Roosters repelled any raids that came their way. 

Both sides were coming off brutal five-day turnarounds following their respective Anzac Day clashes but the standard early was high despite the tough weather conditions in New Zealand. 

Brandon Smith superb try assist

The Roosters took an early penalty goal before the Warriors couldn't capitalise on possession and territory despite more than double the amount of tackles inside the visitors' 20-metre zone.

A quick play the ball close to the line enabled Victor Radley to find Butcher close to the line before the Warriors had more attempts to score points but Jackson Ford fell short twice on the left edge to add to the frustrations. 

The Roosters took a 14-point lead when Brandon Smith placed a grubber for Tupouniua to collect and score to all but wrap up the win. 

Match snapshot

  • The Warriors had 53 per cent of possession for the match and dominated territory but couldn't come up with any points as the Roosters defended their way to victory.
  • The Roosters lost Jared Waerea-Hargreaves pre-game with the veteran prop rested for the clash due to the short turnaround. 
  • The Warriors blooded Demitric Sifakula for his NRL debut off the bench. 
  • Roosters centre Paul Momirovski left the field in the 60th minute with a shoulder injury and did not return.
  • Big try-saving plays from Victor Radley, Joey Manu and James Tedesco denied Warriors tries in the tense clash.
  • Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake was enormous for the home side with 19 carries and over 170 metres in a big stint. 
  • The Roosters have now won their past seven games against the Warriors.
  • The Warriors' loss was their first from four games in New Zealand this season. Six Warriors players have never achieved a victory against the Roosters. 

Play of the game

Defence was on the menu for the Tricolours with Joey Manu's try-saving effort on Jackson Ford in the second half killing off any momentum the Warriors had of creating a comeback after being 8-0 down. 

Joseph Manu try saver

What they said

“We had enough ball to win there tonight, so I’m not that frustrated about that. I knew it was going to be the case that we weren’t going to be perfect. I wish we had iced a couple more moments there. I felt the difference between the two teams was they put the ball in the corner, and they went after us defensively. Their tackling was elite.” – Warriors coach Andrew Webster. 

“Really satisfying. The conditions dictated what style of game it was going to be. We wanted to be better and improve the work in defence and we wanted to be really good at defending in the wet as well. To hold them to zero and then play down the other end and sneak a couple of tries when possible, it was a really pleasing game." – Roosters coach Trent Robinson. 

NRL Press Conference: Warriors v Roosters - Round 9, 2023

What's next 

Both sides will head to Brisbane for Magic Round next week with the Warriors up first in a six-day turnaround for a clash against defending premiers Penrith on Saturday afternoon. With a significant injury toll, Warriors coach Andrew Webster will be hoping a couple of players will be able to get back onto the field.

For the Roosters, they'll feature on Sunday in the penultimate game of the weekend against the Cowboys. Prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is likely to be available after he was rested in Round 9. 

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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