Roosters coach praises 'complete' Gordon
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson praised the effort of Michael Gordon after the veteran fullback played a pivotal role in the side's 14-12 victory against Penrith Panthers on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old turned back the clock to score a double against the club he played 108 games for at the beginning of his career, and rallied to pull off a try-saving tackle on Panthers centre Tyrone Peachey in the dying stages of the enthralling encounter at Pepper Stadium.
Recruited to Bondi on a one-year contract after a season at the Parramatta Eels, Robinson said despite not gaining praise like others in the No.1 jersey do on a weekly basis, Gordon deserved to be regarded as one of the elite fullbacks in the game after more than 200 Telstra Premiership appearances.
"Mick's been a great player in our game for Cronulla, Parramatta and Penrith," Robinson said.
"Fullbacks are enormous in our game with your Billy Slaters and Darius Boyd's, they get a lot of raps.
"Mick's never been classed as one of those [players] but he's got a complete game and does so many things well. Players like playing with him and that's why it's good to see a guy like that play like that.
"He's spent eight years here [at Penrith] and he looked at home today.
"He had that really nice, tight line for the try out the back of Boyd [Cordner] on the left and to then finish that [final] try like he did and come up with those try-savers… that was exceptional from Mick."
The man himself played down his own individual performance, but was adamant the tackle on Peachey was legal, and deemed so by the NRL Bunker in the final minute of the game.
"I just happened to be in the right place and I didn't think the tackle was high. It was either tackle him or they score and win the game," Gordon said post-game.
"He stepped so hard so it probably looked dramatic so it was definitely not high.
"I just threw everything I had at him. That's my job and what I get paid to do so no matter where I am, I'm always going to do my best.
"I had a good time out here [at Penrith] and it's really nice to come back. The fans gave me plenty during the game but they're always nice before it."
A high error count threatened to derail the Bondi outfit late in the second half but Robinson was more pleased with how well the players responded and showed resilience in defence as the Panthers continued to surge.
"We just won a game and came from behind twice," he said.
"The concerns we will get to, but that was a pretty big effort from the guys.
"We came up with too many errors and allowed field position and possession to the Panthers, especially in the second half, so we needed to defend well and we did.
"We hummed the first two weeks in attack and we hummed tonight in defence so we are still trying to find a way of mixing the two together… I think we are a long way off."
Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner was another standout for the Tri-colours, conjuring up 159 metres and 29 tackles and linking strongly with Luke Keary and Latrell Mitchell on the left-edge.
"Although we weren't as sharp in attack as we would like to be, we hung in there with our defence," Cordner said.
"Penrith came out, played really well and put it to us with pressure on our defence.
"We had to wear that at the start and we knew if we held the ball, got to kicks and built pressure, we showed late in the first half we can get some quick points."
The Roosters will not have long to dissect their come-from-behind win, with a five-day turnaround before taking on arch-rivals South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.