Halves guide Roosters into final four
The Roosters have surged past the Wests Tigers with a 22-4 win off the back of some brilliance from their halves Mitch Pearce and James Maloney.
Some attacking moves from each side were shut down early before the Tigers drew first blood through Kevin Naiqama, who hit the defence and spun through into the in-goal, then twisted on the ground in an effort to get the ball down in the face of heavy defence.
Roosters halfback Pearce hit back for his side with the type of play he was producing regularly in late 2014, scything through the defence and racing 30 metres to score next to the posts and give his side a 6-4 lead.
There were more chances for each team – Naiqama shut down a dangerous Roosters left-side play started by a quick Maloney pass and the Tigers dropped the ball while pressing the Tricolours' line – but neither side was able to add to their one first-half try before the break.
The Roosters' premiership halves pairing provided some magic shortly after the resumption. A long Maloney downfield kick seemed an attempt at a 40/20 but it was Pearce who chased it hardest, winning the race to the ball, picking it up and diving over.
"I saw 'Jimmy' was going to kick it so I jumped on my bike and I was lucky to get there," Pearce said of the try after the game. "Once there wasn't anyone in front of me I wanted to get the try. I love playing with Jimmy and working on those combinations."
When Maloney forced a drop-out shortly after with a stab in behind the line, Jackson Hastings sent it left to Nathan Stapleton who managed to ground it despite a slight fumble, leaving the Tigers with four minutes to overhaul a 16-4 deficit.
A well-weighted kick from Josh Drinkwater forced a drop-out but a massive kick from Maloney found touch past halfway in response, putting the Roosters straight back on the attack. He was able to step through the line shortly after to score next to the posts and put the match out of the Tigers' reach at 22-4.