Roosters down Tigers in big wet
The Roosters have claimed their third win of the season, pulling away late against a spirited Wests Tigers outfit despite monsoonal Sydney weather at one point threatening to see the match postponed.
The home side played better to the conditions but were dealt a double injury blow with rookie fullback Latrell Mitchell (ankle) facing a potentially serious injury while lock Isaac Liu (ankle) lasted barely 10 minutes of the contest.
With halfback Mitch Pearce ruled out during the week, young halves Ryan Matterson and the recalled Jackson Hastings needed to control proceedings well and did so dutifully, with a number of probing kicks, well-supported by intelligent creative dummy-half play by in-form hooker and captain Jake Friend.
Tigers fullback James Tedeso made a successful return from a shoulder injury, scoring one try and helping set up the other two while newly re-signed five-eighth Mitch Moses had a fine game and nailed three straight tricky conversions but it wasn't enough against a determined and desperate Roosters outfit.
A nice Hastings grubber for a repeat set in just the sixth minute started to build the early pressure on the Tigers and a poor defensive read from Moses on decoy runner Aidan Guerra allowed Mitchell to stroll through a gap to open the scoring after seven minutes.
The Tigers backs struggled to get down low when returning kicks on several occasions and when Josh Addo-Carr was forced in-goal in the 10th it set the scene for Daniel Tupou to finish off a well-worked left side move that started with some good vision from Jake Friend to send a long ball out towards Dale Copley. Sio Siua Taukeiaho slotted his second straight wide conversion for a 12-0 lead.
While the home side was playing wet-weather footy the visitors refused to join in and it paid dividends with a 70-metre try in the 15th minute. Darting away after receiving an Aaron Woods offload, James Tedesco jinked to the right and linked up with Kevin Naiqama whose draw and pass to a supporting Tedesco ended with Tim Simona released for a clear run to the line.
Unfortunately, Tedesco's heavy contact with Mitchell as he passed saw him go for a 15-minute concussion check though he returned later in the half.
A series of well-weighted kicks from Hastings and Friend pinned the Tigers in their own end and helped the Tricolours tally five first-half drop-outs and the pressure paid further dividends when Blake Ferguson was on the end of a quality Ryan Matterson ball, assisted again by a defensive misread from the Tigers.
With a comfortable 12-point half-time lead on offer, the home side suffered a nasty double blow in the minute before the break when Latrell Mitchell twisted his leg in a tackle and was forced out of the game before a Blake Ferguson error in the play the ball allowed Moses to hold up a nice pass out to Tedesco who put David Nofoaluma over in the corner to make it 18-12 at the break.
Next points came in the 53rd minute in simple fashion when Friend grubbered through for an unmarked Guerra for a 24-12 lead.
The Tigers were able to heap on some pressure after stand-in fullback Connor Watson spilled a towering, floating Moses bomb and after forcing a repeat set, Tedesco showed great evasion to score under the posts running the ball on the last tackle to keep the gap at six points.
A penalty goal from lock Sio Siua Taukeiaho – who had a wonderful afternoon at the kicking tee with six goals from as many attempts, many from the touch line – moved the lead beyond a converted try with 10 to play.
When Addo-Carr spilled a skewed Matterson bomb, Roosters skipper Friend inserted himself with back-to-back clever plays to first force a repeat set then throw a nice pass to Guerra whose offload handed Watson his maiden NRL try for a final 32-18 score-line.
Sydney Roosters 32 (Latrell Mitchell, Daniel Tupou, Blake Ferguson, Aidan Guerra, Connor Watson tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 6 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 18 (Tim Simona, David Nofoaluma, James Tedesco tries; Mitch Moses 3 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Half time: Roosters 18-12. Crowd: 3,622. On report: Waerea-Hargreaves.