Roosters snap six-game losing streak in style
The Sydney Roosters have produced their best 80 minutes of the season to hand the Broncos their seventh loss in their past nine matches with a stirring 32-16 win at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night.
In a performance that had been building for quite some time, the Tricolours snapped a six-game losing streak to put a serious question mark on Brisbane's quest for back-to-back grand final appearances.
Released by the Broncos at the end of last year to make room for James Roberts, Dale Copley sent a message to his former club with the centre scoring a double in what was his best game for his new side.
Copley received an early 25th birthday present, crossing for the game's first try before spinning out of a Ben Hunt tackle late in the game to put the result beyond doubt.
The left edge proved a fruitful avenue for the Roosters to attack after Broncos winger Lachlan Maranta was forced from the field in the eighth minute with concussion after collecting the accidental knees of Boyd Cordner.
The Broncos couldn't have asked for a worse start with Corey Oates spilling the first kick of the game, before Corey Parker conceded a penalty to put the Roosters straight on the attack.
For the third consecutive week against top-eight opposition, the Roosters opened the scoring with Blake Ferguson's sleight of hand sending Copley over untouched after just four minutes.
The incumbent fullback almost turned provider on the other side of the field but Shaun Kenny-Dowall couldn't control the ball as he looked to fight through a couple of would-be defenders.
It took a fortuitous ricochet for the Broncos to get on the board with an Andrew McCullough grubber rebounding off Sio Siua Taukeiaho into the arms of Jarrod Wallace who, after a juggle, collected the ball to score his first try of the season.
Luck looked to be against the Roosters when Cordner failed to regather a charge-down near halfway, but the footballing gods soon blessed them with good fortune as a sumptuous in-and-away from Connor Watson ended with Latrell Mitchell diving over in the corner.
Playing some of their best footy in months, the Roosters extended their lead shortly after when Watson and Copley combined to send Ferguson over with a beautifully worked set move down the left flank.
If the Broncos were worried about being down 18-6 at the break, they would have been in complete and utter panic stations when the Roosters extended their lead nine minutes into the second stanza with one of the tries of 2016.
An innocuous kick from Pearce was regathered by Latrell Mitchell, who offloaded the ball to Kenny-Dowall, before the Kiwis centre put up the always-dangerous second kick.
Ferguson leapt highest to come down with the ball but looked destined to be bundled into touch, only for the Blues winger to not only stay in play, but offload back for Kenny-Dowall to score a spectacular – and gravity defying – four-pointer.
The beaten 2015 grand finalists received a lifeline when rookie centre Tom Opacic crossed for his first try in the NRL to cut the gap, but a try to a hard-running Boyd Cordner – who was brilliant all game – restored the Roosters' 16-point lead.
Copley's second of the night put the result beyond doubt in the 67th minute before the visitors pegged one back after Darius Boyd collected a Hunt grubber for what was nothing more than a mere consolation four points.
Sydney Roosters 32 (Dale Copley 2, Latrell Mitchell, Blake Ferguson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Boyd Cordner tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 4 goals) defeated Brisbane Broncos 16 (Jarrod Wallace, Tom Opacic, Darius Boyd tries; Corey Parker 2 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Half-time: 18-6 Roosters. Crowd: 6,308. Injuries: Lachlan Maranta (concussion), Connor Watson (ankle).