Slick Roosters smash Sea Eagles
A Daniel Tupou brace of tries and an overall slick Sydney Roosters outfit has seen Trent Robinson's men win the inaugural Community Cup after annihilating the Sea Eagles 36-6.
While the Sea Eagles were more inclined to give their stars bigger breathers, the Roosters proved too good in a six tries to one blitz with the game all but settled when Mitchell Pearce exited the game with 20 minutes remaining.
In somewhat of a revelation, Mitchell Aubusson played the majority of the game at hooker after coming into the field of play midway through the first half for the Roosters, who were making their first appearance on the Central Coast since joining forces with the Wyong Roos.
In what could prove to be a double-whammy of blows for Manly, captain Jamie Lyon failed to return in the second half when he emerged from the sheds with ice on his right knee, while Tom Symonds will have scans on Monday after hyper extending his elbow.
"Jamie has a bit of a sore knee which is a bit of a concern," Manly coach Geoff Toovey said.
"It isn't anything major. I hope that he'll be right for Round 1 and Jamie himself is pretty confident that it will be right to go."
Despite the final result, the Sea Eagles were the first team to draw blood after 10 minutes when halfback Daly Cherry-Evans threw a questionable ball out wide to winger Peta Hiku.
Appearing unperturbed by recent chatter over his future, the sublime passing of Cherry-Evans almost saw Symonds score the opening try instead just moments previously.
Roosters' halfback and recently appointed co-captain Pearce wasn't going to let his opposite man steal the limelight though, and in the 27th minute he appeared unstoppable when he carried three Sea Eagles over the tryline with him to square the ledger.
A coach-killing and uncharacteristic kick out on the full from an otherwise solid Cherry-Evans would cost the Sea Eagles just three minutes before halftime when Aubusson threw a money ball from dummy-half for prop Kane Evans to score under the posts.
Despite conceding eight penalties in the opening 40 minutes, Evans's try under the black dot would help the Tricolours to a six-point lead at halftime.
Quick hands from the Roosters saw them get off the mark within the first three minutes of the second half. Off the back of five-eighth James Maloney creating an overlap on the left hand side, winger Tupou finished off a slick backline movement to extend their lead to 12.
Off the back of a 30 metre run, Michael Jennings looked likely to assist in another Roosters try moments later but dropped his bundle with only Tony Satini to beat and Tupou outside of him.
The Roosters continued the onslaught in the 52nd minute when Tupou scored his second of the night after racing 80 metres down field off the back of a scrum play.
A fleet-footed Roger Tuivasa-Sheck extended the Sea Eagles pain when he made light work of Blake Leary just six minutes later when a wicked step from the Roosters fullback left the back-rower grasping at air.
In the final 10 minutes, Willie Manu – in his first game in Roosters colours – threw a brilliant flick offload while being tackled, to fellow forward Dylan Napa to put the cherry on top for the Roosters with a bruising 30-point victory.
"We don't really buy into the end scoreline," Toovey said.
"I thought in the first half that we were pretty good, we got into the arm wrestle and we were pretty unlucky not to be out in front at halftime.
"I thought our defence was quite solid and that it was a few silly mistakes that led to their tries particularly with [Evans'] try under the post but we'll correct that."
The Roosters travel to Townsville to play the Cowboys in Round 1 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, with coach Trent Robinson feeling his side should be just about ready for their season opener.
"This is our first major trial of the pre-season for the boys and they were a bit scratchy at the start where they tried to find a bit of a rhythm with some guys in different positions, but there were some good things there too," Robinson said.
"There were some nice individual performances so for them it's about feeling good at the start of a season, and they also put it into play in terms of the team performance.
"At the end of a pre-season you want to see that they're ready for an 80-minute performance and I thought in terms of our yardage work we were good."
Sydney Roosters 36 (Daniel Tupou 2, Mitchell Pearce, Dylan Napa, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kane Evans Tries; James Maloney 6 Goals) defeated Manly-Waringah Sea Eagles 6 (Peta Hiku Try; Jamie Lyon Goal) at Central Coast Stadium.