Roosters survive Raiders comeback in NYC
The Sydney Roosters Holden Cup side have rallied late to stave off a gutsy Canberra, winning 32-22 in steamy conditions at GIO Stadium.
The Raiders came from 22 points down in the first-half to level it up with 20 minutes to play, but two late tries to the Tricolours sealed their second straight NYC win to start 2016.
Roosters five-eighth Connor Watson continued his impressive start to the Holden Cup season, scoring a double and setting up three more tries in the 10-point win.
Canberra got off to a poor start coming up with errors in each of their first three sets, and were made to pay for their sloppiness; albeit fortuitously.
A Watson kick on the last hit the upright and bounced straight into the lap of Roosters co-captain Grant Garvey who scored untouched under the posts.
The Roosters were in again soon after through winger Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck thanks to some slick hands from Watson and back-rower Reuben Porter.
Canberra coach Brett White said in the pregame that he wanted his side to get off to a fast start, but he wouldn't have been happy with what he saw in the first 20 minutes.
Despite making a couple of nice half breaks, the Green Machine's completion rate was just 2 from 8 in the opening quarter.
Another error followed by a penalty put the visitors on the attack again, and interchange forward Luke Chalker took full advantage, scoring a fairly soft try from 10 metres out.
There was nothing soft about the next four-pointer, with the Tricolours going back-to-back after an inside ball from Nat Butcher put Steadman into space, before the fullback linked up with Watson to finish off a spectacular 60 metre effort.
The Raiders needed something before half-time if they wanted to get back in the game, and rookie halfback Zeik Foster delivered, setting up two tries in the final three minutes to cut the gap to 10 points at the break.
Filling in for NRL debutant Lachlan Croker, the Raiders halfback forced a line dropout in the 36th minute, before finding fullback Tre Williams with another deft grubber to get the Raiders on the board.
In the shadows of half-time, Foster found hard-working Daniel Dole with a peach of pass to send the front-rower over next to the posts to cap off an impressive 40 minute stint from the big man.
The Roosters were desperately unlucky to not score in the opening set of the second-half, with Ryan King ruled to have been held up in goal, before Steadman crossed the stripe, only to be penalised for a double movement.
Canberra made the most of their good fortune five minutes later, with Foster setting up his third try for the match when a barnstorming Jack Williams barrelled through three defenders to score. Zac Woolford's streak of eight-straight goals to start the season came to an end with his first miss of the year, keeping the score at 22-16 after 50 minutes.
The Canberra No.9 made up for the miss, darting out of dummy half and using a marker as a decoy to score next to the sticks to level the scores after an hour.
With the game played in sapping 70 per cent humidity, it became clear that the contest would be decided by fatigue.
Right on cue, Garvey found some tired defenders around the ruck, releasing halfback Jesse Marschke, who drew the fullback before sending Watson away for his second of the day to cap off a fantastic 80 metre movement.
Watson added one more to the highlight reel, setting up centre Joseph Manu for his first try of the season to finish off the contest.
Sydney Roosters 32 (Connor Watson 2, Grant Garvey, Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck, Luke Chalker, Joseph Manu tries; Steadman 4 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 22 (Tre Williams, Daniel Dole, Jack Williams, Zac Woolford tries; Zac Woolford 3 goals) at GIO Stadium. Half-time: 22-12 Roosters.