Roosters coast home against Tigers
The Roosters have done enough to dispose of a resolute Wests Tigers outfit 33-8 on Friday night without ever really getting out of second gear.
A scrappy and error-strewn first half saw each side score one try as both failed to take their opportunities but the premiership heavyweights showed their quality in the second half, laying on some fine tries to pull away.
Tiger tempers started to fray late in the game with fiery lock Marty Taupau launching a cheap swinging arm on Roosters five-eighth James Maloney as he was lying on the ground, prompting players to run in and earning himself a sin-bin for the final few minutes of the game.
An error-riddled first half saw each side score one try but Maloney's boot helped the visitors to an 8-4 lead at the break.
After struggling to put the polish on some good-ball opportunities early the Roosters opted for a free two points when Aaron Woods made a second effort in a tackle in the 13th minute.
When Pat Richards' ensuing restart sailed out on the full it handed the Roosters a free piggy-back back into attacking territory and this time some nifty work on the left edge from Michael Jennings and Daniel Tupou resulted in the latter bumping away a couple of defenders, coming slightly infield then shifting back out to score in the corner with his foot all but scraping the chalk.
Maloney's sideline effort extended the advantage to eight before the Tigers set about showing they weren't prepared to lie down against their more fancied opposition.
With back-rower Chris Lawrence leaving the field for good in just the third minute with a rolled ankle they had to do it the hard way and a couple of penalties was all the invitation tackle-busting fullback James Tedesco needed to jink through the line on the Roosters' left edge.
From there both sides were guilty of coughing the ball up when they had the opportunity to attack with the Tigers particularly profligate, finishing the half with a completion rate barely over 50 per cent. Their nine errors and the Roosters' six made for a scrappy closing to the half where both coaches would have been happy to share a few choice words with their charges.
Impressive young winger Brendan Elliot got the Tricolours off to the perfect start after the break, cleaning up the scraps from a Mitch Pearce cross-field bomb that went straight through a few sets of hands.
A huge run from slick fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck put the Roosters on the attack again and Jake Friend turned one back in for Sam Moa to crash over and put the match seemingly out of reach at 20-4 with 25 to go.
But the Tigers refused to go away and a quality left-side play allowed Tim Simona to send Pat Richards over in the corner, the lanky winger hitting the cross bar with his conversion to keep the gap at 12.
From that point though it was all the way of the Roosters. Rookie of the year candidate Sio Siua Taukeiaho was among his side's best, bending the line with every carry and punching straight through it on one occasion on his way to 183 metres with five tackle breaks from 15 carries, a tally bettered only by Tuivasa-Sheck's 222 metres.
When Maloney backed up a Boyd Cordner line break in the 63rd minute the match was effectively over at 26-8, Maloney adding a one-pointer shortly after to take the advantage out beyond three converted tries.
That field goal was followed by Richards kicking out on the full for the second time in the match and Taupau's brain explosion earning him a rest from the following set, allowing the Roosters to launch a final attack against a 12-man Tigers outfit.
The home side had looked to have done enough to avert further damage until a loose pass allowed Elliot to scoop up the ball and race away for his double in the final minute and a 33-8 win in front of 10,186 fans, cementing their top-four billing and consigning the Tigers to another week at the foot of the ladder.
Sydney Roosters 33 (Elliot 2, Tupou, Moa, Maloney tries; Maloney 5 goals; Maloney field goal) defeated Wests Tigers 8 (Tedesco, Richards tries). Half-time: Roosters 8-4. Crowd: 10,186. On report: Martin Taupau.