Roosters v Wests Tigers: Five key points
The Roosters snapped a four-game losing streak in the most convincing fashion possible, trouncing the Wests Tigers 36-4 at Allianz Stadium.
Tupou tiptoes to second Tigers hat-trick
Lanky Roosters winger Daniel Tupou scored his first hat-trick in just his second NRL game in 2012 and on Friday he scored his second (and the third of his career overall) against the same opponents.
After the game his coach praised his polished finishing skills, adding he'd come back from his week with City Origin refreshed and focused.
"That's just the art of a winger isn't it? It's amazing the wingers we've got in our game now and how they know to tiptoe down the touchline and put the ball down," Robinson said.
"He's funny Toops, I think he put that last one down with his left hand, he's actually a right hander. If you notice he often scores with his right arm... so that was a nice one-handed put down in the end with the left hand."
Robinson also cracked a joke at the expense of Tupou's understated and nonchalant reaction to scoring each of those tries.
"You can see how excited he is after he scores a try. Have you noticed how pumped he is when he scores?" Robinson quipped, drawing laughs from the assembled media and club captain Mitch Pearce.
Tupou himself finally afforded a smile when told about the gentle ribbing from his coach.
"The boys give it to me just because I don't smile, but I see it as just to stay calm and reset and go again," he said.
Tedesco shines in beaten side
It's hard to say a player had a great game when his team has been dusted 36-4 but the rapidly-improving Tigers custodian lost no fans with a gutsy effort at the back for the visitors.
With his side camped inside their own 20 for much of the game, Tedesco was forced to field bomb after bomb at his own line and grubber after grubber inside his in-goal.
He never shirked the job, putting his body on the line, latching on to a series of high kicks, and repeatedly getting hammered when trying to run grubbers back into the field of play.
He finished the game with no errors or penalties or missed tackles against his name, his five tackle breaks were an equal team high with Kevin Naiqama, and he added 125 metres from 16 runs.
Roosters halves shine as Origin nears
Roosters captain and former NSW Origin halfback Mitch Pearce is running out of ways to say he thinks the incumbent and victorious Blues halves pairing of Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds deserve first crack in 2015.
But after a month in which neither the incumbents, nor the challengers and former Blues halves pairing in Pearce and James Maloney, have truly grasped their chance, things are suddenly running smoothly for the Roosters pair.
Maloney was man of the match for Country Origin last weekend as the side's captain, while Pearce claimed that honour in the big win over the Tigers.
"I thought Mitchell really set up the first half," Robinson said after the game.
"I think the way that he played there, he was pretty instrumental in support play and in delivering some passes and obviously the kick [for Daniel Tupou's second try] as well. Then even a bit more in the second half he moved around both sides of the park so it was a good performance."
On Maloney, Robinson noted the pivot stood up and delivered in a leadership role after being asked to do so for Country Origin a week prior and lauded his goalkicking – which netted him six straight after a close opening miss, with plenty of those attempts from the sideline.
"Tonight he played a really good performance, him and Junior in the halves," Robinson said.
"He's an impressive player, Jimmy. He's had some pressure on the last couple of weeks and he's stood up and delivered. That's Jimmy, he dusts himself off and goes again. He's always confident, he feels the pain of the last four losses but he's got a really good filter on all that and gets himself ready to play."
Tigers halves' defence not the issue
Despite five-eight Mitch Moses missing five tackles – one of which occurred when Roosters forward Boyd Cordner ran over him to score a try – coach Jason Taylor bristled at suggestions the young playmakers' defensive deficiencies were an issue, instead slamming the job done by the men in the middle.
"Those guys [in the halves] are going to struggle on the back of us not handling teams in the middle of the field and that's what happened tonight," Taylor said.
"By the time Boyd Cordner got one on one with Mitch Moses we hadn't done anywhere near the job that we needed to do on that set defensively and that started in the middle of the field. While those guys are working really hard and will continue to work hard to improve what they're doing there, anyone who thinks that that's our problem, anyone who thinks that was why we lost tonight, they're not right, in my opinion.
"The other parts come before that and if our boys in the middle let us down then those guys will struggle and most halves do. When the boys in the middle handle it and then they need to handle it and for the majority of the season they have done."
Rep weekend favours Roosters
After the clinical win, Roosters players Daniel Tupou and Shaun Kenny-Dowall spoke of having been refreshed by the representative weekend - which may seem odd as both players were in action over the round, as were many of their teammates, with more than half the side involved.
Kenny-Dowall, Sam Moa and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck were part of the victorious Kiwis side, Isaac Liu tasted success with Samoa in the Pacific Test over good mate Siua Taukeiaho (Tonga), James Maloney led Country Origin to victory over a City side featuring Tupou and Kane Evans, while Michael Jennings was in the unsuccessful Kangaroos side, making nine in total.
The Tigers had six of their own in Aaron Woods (Australia), Marty Taupau (New Zealand), Kevin Naiqama (Fiji), Sauaso Sue (Samoa) and James Tedesco and Curtis Sironen (both City) but it was the Roosters who shot out of the blocks on the resumption of the regular NRL season.
"We really regrouped over the rep weekend. We had a few key areas we wanted to focus on and I thought the execution out there tonight was on point," Kenny-Dowall told NRL.com.
"It was awesome – we had a good week away so it was good to get outside of the Roosters and freshen the mind up and come back and refocus. We knew we had a job on hand and really needed to get back on track.
"It was good to get in a different environment and obviously get a win and that's carried through to this week and hopefully we can carry it on for another couple of weeks."