The Roosters did a better job of handling the monsoonal Sydney weather than their opponents on the way to downing Wests Tigers 32-18 on Sunday afternoon at Allianz Stadium.
Roosters win the conditions battle
Attrition, one-out forward battles and a strong kicking game is the order of the day when the ground is underwater and despite losing experienced halfback Mitch Pearce to a calf-strain mid-week, the Roosters playmakers and forwards executed their plans to a tee.
Towering bombs, kicks behind the line, countless repeat sets and over 450 running metres from the two starting props helped the Roosters to a decisive advantage in possession.
"We didn't play to the conditions as well as we would have liked to. We planned for it, we knew what it was going to be like out there and we tried hard to control what we did, particularly kicking. Our kicking let us down, and unforced errors were the issues for us today," summarised Tigers coach Jason Taylor.
Added Roosters captain Jake Friend: "We talked coming into the game about wet weather footy, we all love playing wet weather footy when we were kids and I think that sort of came through. The boys were excited to play, we talked about playing a tough game and a field position game and we got that on from the start."
Tedesco's successful return
Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco scored one of his team's three tries with a brilliant solo effort, created their first try with two possessions and a wonderful long range movement and threw the final pass for their other try. It's safe to say things could have gotten out of hand earlier for the black and golds without his input, and even that came despite a 15-minute concussion check in the first half.
"He was very impressive. He was voted in as our players' player in that match. It was great to see him back," Taylor said.
"I think that game would have been a lot tougher without him back there, the way he handed some of those kicks."
At first Taylor looked to brush any suggestion of his fullback fighting his way into a sky blue jersey for Origin two but couldn't help adding: "He's the best fullback in NSW but whether they want to pick him or not, that's up to them."
Injury woes add up for Roosters
Isaac Liu (10th minute) and Latrell Mitchell (40th minute) both had their afternoons finished early by what Roosters coach Trent Robinson said were ankle injuries.
Mitchell in particular looked distressed by what the club hopes will not be a long term injury. Both were sent for scans immediately and were off getting those done when the players went into the sheds after the fulltime siren.
"I don't know, he just went to get scans. Isaac Liu and Latrell both ankle injuries, short term doesn't look good – I just hope it's ok," Robinson said. He was hopeful the pair had not suffered the high ankle sprains that are becoming routine in the modern game.
"When I was in the change rooms they were at the scanning place getting it done so I hope not but [syndesmosis injuries are] pretty common these days."
Taylor hints at Farah return
Taylor said he was happy with the decision to rest Farah from the game after his hooker got through 80 minutes in Origin I on Wednesday night backing up from a serious concussion a fortnight earlier.
He suggested Farah would return for the next game – a home game against the Rabbitohs next Friday – though stopped short of guaranteeing it, despite reserve hooker Matt Ballin suffering another knee injury requiring scans.
"We thought it was the right thing from the start and continue to believe it was the right thing [to rest him]," Taylor said.
"It was really important to have a strong team in the middle of the field there today and just with what Robbie had been through over the last couple of weeks we just thought that was right.
"Elijah [Taylor]'s defence in the middle of the field and bringing Josh Aloiai into the middle of our field was a strong way for us to start today and that's what we went with."
Pressed on whether Farah would play the next match, he added: "I assume so, we'll look at that… Each game stands on its own, we'll work out exactly what's happening next week with our team."
Hardy fans deserve a medal
With road closures around Sydney due to flooding and fallen trees and power lines and monsoonal rain sweeping across the Moore Park precinct, it was, as they say, fine weather for ducks (or probably not even ducks, with that wind).
The final tally was 3,622 fans – comfortably a season low, and slightly less than the 3,978 that braved 'Sharknado' at Cronulla in Round 7 last year. While social media lit up with the predictable comedians suggesting the figure was inflated, the middle tier and undercover areas, plus corporate boxes and food and drink sections were well-attended by some serious rugby league devotees.
Robinson, unprompted, finished his post-match press conference with praise for the fans who did brave the conditions to see their team earn a fine – and much-needed – win.
"The other thing, there was 3,600 supporters here tonight. They should all get a medal I think for turning up today," he said.
"For the Roosters supporters to turn up and also the Tigers fans to come out and support that today, it's a really easy day to watch it on television but that's big for us. We really wanted them out there and it's great to see. I remember driving in and seeing those supporters walk in and I thought, they're the true ones and we'll need them again against Melbourne on Saturday night. I'd like to thank them for coming out."