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Roosters on fire in Warriors rout


While it wasn’t their biggest win of the year, it was perhaps the Roosters’ most convincing, running in eight tries and conceding just two.

Buoyed by the returns of Sonny Bill Williams and Jake Friend, Sydney restricted their opponents to under 1000 running metres and attacked with vigour and accuracy.

The Warriors meanwhile put their own 2014 finals hopes in serious jeopardy.

Not only were the two dropped competition points crucial, but the defeat - their largest of the season - puts a significant dent in their points differential and confidence heading into the final two weeks.

The loss of winger David Fusitua to a dislocated shoulder in the opening five minutes didn’t help, but in a game where motivation should never have been an issue, the New Zealanders looked tired and at times uninterested.

Despite the Roosters taking a 16- 6 lead into the break, the only real difference was that the Warriors had let the Tricolours off the hook when they made errors, while their opponents had punished them with points.

The hosts completed 17 of their 18 first-half sets, but a huge defensive error rate meant it had counted for little.

The Roosters got on the front foot early, and NSW State of Origin winger Daniel Tupou looked a certainty to open the scoring on three minutes when broke free and ran close to 80 metres.

A desperate Shaun Johnson cover tackle denied him, but on the ensuing play the Roosters found space and Aiden Guerra looked to have crossed.

A video referee decision found that Thomas Leuluai had desperately but illegally kicked the ball out during the attempted grounding, resulting in a penalty try to open the scoring. Maloney converted to take it to 6-0.

The home side hit back when Ngani Laumape outleapt Daniel Tupou to bat the ball down to a waiting Sam Tomkins, but tries to Roosters centres Michael Jennings and Shaun Kenny-Dowall handed the advantage back to the Roosters.

Leading 16-6 at the break Sydney were looking confident in every area, and confirmed it with a try on their opening set of the second period.

After Maloney swooped through the heart of the New Zealand defence he drew Tomkins and found Anthony Minichiello, who scored his side’s fourth try of the afternoon.

The Warriors middle defence, which only a few weeks ago was arguably the strongest feature of their play, turned into a turnstile from the 50th minute onwards, as Auckland-raised props Sam Moa and Issac Liu strolled through for tries.

Lock Sebastian Ikahihifo spent 10 minutes in the bin for a flop tackle so late the ball runner was virtually getting up to play the ball by the time Ikahihifo barrelled into him, while his mates left on the field compounded the issue with a spate of errors and missed tackles.

A try to Laumape with four minutes to go was about the only blemish on the Roosters' record in the second period, but they finished on a high with Jennings collecting his second off the back of some razzle-dazzle footy.

The Roosters host the Storm next week and head into the final two rounds with the minor premiership still in sight, and a top four berth all but confirmed.

While the equation is simple for the Warriors now: they must win next week at home against the Titans and then take down the Panthers away if they are to play post-season footy in 2014. 

Roosters 46 (Jennings 2, Kenny-Dowall, Minichiello, Moa, Liu, Cordner tries; Guerra penalty try; Maloney 7 goals) defeated Warriors 12 (Tomkins, Laumape tries; Johnson 2 goals) at Mount Smart Stadium. Crowd: 19,676.
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