Friend, Tuivasa-Sheck beat Bulldogs
Two try assists from Roosters co-captain Jake Friend and the slick feet of fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has seen the duo lead their team to a convincing 24-14 victory over the Bulldogs.
Billed as a battle between the halves for New South Wales Origin spots, the performances of Mitchell Pearce, James Maloney, Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds failed to reach any great heights.
While the Bulldogs held strong for the majority of the first half with pure goal line defensive grit after Curtis Rona scored his 11th try in 10 games for the home team, the game was turned on its head when James Graham failed to return from a concussion just 27 minutes into his comeback game after his head collided with the hip of Roosters back-rower Aidan Guerra.
With Graham gone and the Bulldogs struggling to gain good territory with the ball in hand for much of the first half, the Roosters finally broke the shackles through winger Daniel Tupou, which came from a spectacular cut-out ball from Friend from dummy-half in the 35th minute.
The Roosters went back-to-back three minutes later when Tuivasa-Sheck busted his way past Bulldogs duo Hodkinson and Tony Williams to score just right of the uprights. The conversion from Roosters five-eighth Maloney ensured the Roosters would head to sheds leading 10-4 at halftime.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was impressed by his troops game but in not a way to be expected.
"I thought we were all a bit slow to start, we took awhile to get into it - we struggled with errors and a few passes left behind - we were trying to find our game and our defence held on long enough for us do to do that," Robinson said.
"We probably trained a little bit hard this week. We lacked a bit of power because of that. Our heads were in it but they lacked a bit of power. It was a bit of an awkward game though our defence gave us a breathing space [for our slow start] and then we executed eventually."
With either club's try scoring chances being bundled over the sideline, the first points of the second half came from the boot of Maloney who kicked a penalty goal in the 60th minute to help his team to an eight-point advantage.
In the very next set, a mistake from Bulldogs fullback Sam Perrett off a towering, pinpoint accurate Pearce bomb allowed Mitch Aubusson to pick up the scraps and score with 16 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Roosters wrapped up the ball-game in the 72nd minute when Aidan Guerra strolled past two would-be Bulldogs defenders from another Friend try-assist to extend their lead to 20.
Looking to make matters worse, the Roosters looked to be in again three minutes later in what was shaping up to be the one of the best tries ever seen. After multiple passes and four kicks, winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall looked to have scored but failed to get the ball down when it mattered most.
Bulldogs centre Moses Mbye's late consolation try made the score slightly more respectable, though it was the Roosters who would prevail with the 14-point win.
Roosters centre Michael Jennings failed to finish the game and it may be a cause for concern for both his club and state.
Sydney Roosters 24 (Daniel Tupou, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Mitchell Aubusson, Aiden Guerra Tries; James Maloney 4 Goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 10 (Curtis Rona, Moses Mbye Tries; Trent Hodkinson Goal). Crowd: 17,093. Halftime: Roosters 10-4.