Wests Tigers routed at soggy Leichhardt
The Sydney Roosters have all but ended Wests Tigers' season with a torrid 48-4 rout at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday evening.
On the same night veteran five-eighth Braith Anasta called curtains on a decorated 15-year career in the NRL, the joint venture's 2014 campaign is also just about over after conceding a staggering 112 points in their past two games.
The defending premiers, on the other hand, continued their march towards back-to-back titles by pushing into the top four with an eight-try pulverisation that included a double to skipper Anthony Minichiello.
After entering the halftime break with a slender 8-0 lead following a dour first half, the floodgates opened as wide as the heavens did in the second half, with the captain crossing twice within three minutes, as well as tries to Sam Moa, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Daniel Tupou and Mitchell Pearce.
Five-eighth James Maloney also kicked eight goals from nine attempts.
It was a particularly memorable night for centre Michael Jennings, who opened proceedings with his 100th career try, pouncing on Mitchell Pearce's 3rd minute grubber.
From there the home side dominated field position and possession, but a combination of poor execution and porous handling – they started the game with an entirely new backline and ten changes overall from the side named last Tuesday – kept them from converting it on the scoreboard.
Their opponents had no such trouble, potting over a 23rd-minute penalty on just their second visit inside enemy territory.
One night after ballboy-gate, the controversial 40/20 rule reared its ugly head again after makeshift centre Blake Austin raced downfield for the quick tap, only to be pulled back after taking it 10 metres infield instead of the required 20 metres.
Any hope of a Tigers upset were quickly thwarted after the break when the visitors poured on six tries in a 20 minute period.
Moa started the run with a 44th minute slam before Minichiello twice displayed his signature support play with back-to-back tries, backing up first Kenny-Dowall in the 48th, and then Aiden Guerra three minutes later.
Even Waerea-Hargreaves got on the scoresheet for the first time this year, chasing through on Pearce's clever kick in-field in the 59th minute, as did Kenny-Dowall and Tupou not long after.
Tigers debutant winger Jy Hitchcox eventually got his team on the scoreboard when he got a screamer of a pass from five-eighth Mitchell Moses in the 70th, before Pearce put an exclamation mark on the win with a miraculous solo effort minutes before full-time.
With backline players James Tedesco, Pat Richards, Bodene Thompson, David Nofoaluma, Tim Simona, Keith Lulia and Tim Moltzen already unavailable through injury, bench prop James Gavet was stood down on game day for breach of club policy.
Sydney Roosters 48 (Minichiello 2, Jennings, Moa, Waerea-Hargreaves, Kenny-Dowall, Tupou, Pearce tries; Maloney 8 goals) def Wests Tigers 4 (Hitchcox try). Crowd: 5,297.