Roosters dispose of sloppy Souths
The Roosters have gone 4-0 to start the season with a comfortable 20-6 win over a sloppy Rabbitohs outfit at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.
The Roosters looked in control almost from the outset and while Souths never gave up they often looked lost in attack and their edge defence was shaky for much of the game.
For the fourth week running, five-eighth Cody Walker was close to his side's best and while he added some spark it wasn't enough against a Roosters side that remains undefeated after four rounds.
One of South Sydney's biggest issues was a series of confused last-tackle plays, with outside backs tackled on the last numerous times.
The Roosters themselves looked to have plenty of room for improvement with skipper and hooker Jake Friend out with a facial injury but the rapidly developing combination between halves Mitch Pearce and Luke Keary – plus some near-impenetrable goal-line defence – proved the difference.
Despite a bright start from the Bunnies in the opening minutes the Roosters regained control and went on to dominate the first half, in which they completed 19 of 21 sets compared to just 10 of 18 for Souths.
Some slick hands from halves Pearce and Keary got Latrell Mitchell outside the defensive line for the opening try in just the sixth minute before a stunning inside ball from centre Joey Manu put Michael Gordon over shortly after.
Gordon converted both from touch and added a penalty goal from out wide just before half-time to stretch the Tricolours' advantage to 14-0 at the break and Souths were probably lucky it wasn't more.
Rabbitohs centre Sifa Talakai went off early for a concussion check and lock Sam Burgess was also taken from the field for assessment following a big hit collision just before half time. While Talakai returned to start the second half, Burgess failed his head injury assessment test and did not return.
Souths enjoyed the better of the early stages of the second half, earning repeat sets through consecutive line drop outs and the pressure eventually told in the 50th minute when debutant winger Sitiveni Mocedreike crossed out wide.
The Tricolours restored their 14-point advantage shortly after through another slick left-side move from Pearce, Keary and Mitchell sent Daniel Tupou over with the Bunnies' right edge looking disjointed in defence for much of the night.
The 20-6 margin eventually became the final score with both sides struggling for execution over the final quarter of the game to seal the Roosters' best start to a season in 21 years.
Sydney Roosters 20 (Mitchell, Gordon, Tupou tries; Gordon 4 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (Moceidreke try; Reynolds goal) at ANZ Stadium. Half time: Roostes 14-0.