Ruthless Roosters trounce Tigers
A strong second-half performance from the Sydney Roosters has seen the Tricolours romp to a 40-18 victory at Campbelltown Stadium.
The contest was evenly poised at the half-time break at 16-12 in favour of the eastern suburbs club, before the visitors turned it on with four second-half tries to blow the scoreline wide open at the backend.
It was a scrappy opening 50-minute performance from the Bondi outfit that showed glimpses of brilliance but completed at just over 60 per cent against a spirited Wests Tigers outfit who were limited with the ball.
The Roosters decided to rest NSW skipper Boyd Cordner for the clash and suffered a further blow when Jake Friend left the field after some friendly fire from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves just three minutes into the contest.
State of Origin representatives Pearce and Queensland back-rower Aidan Guerra both went over for doubles and Friend's replacement, Connor Watson, also crossed for two tries in the 28-point win.
Despite conceding an early four-pointer, the Roosters looked to be in control in the opening half regardless of their poor completion rate, before a James Tedesco try out of nowhere narrowed the visitors' lead to four and handed the home side a sniff at the break.
New recruit Tui Lolohea made an immediate impact in front of the home crowd with a show-and-go movement that split Waerea-Hargreaves and Cordner's replacement Ryan Matterson on the right edge to open the scoring – his first for his new club.
It was a quick response however from the visitors who struck a double blow to hit the lead in the 13th minute.
Pearce provided a pinpoint cross-field kick to NSW teammate Blake Ferguson out wide, with the Australian international outleaping Kevin Naiqama to get the ball down, before Latrell Mitchell took advantage of a six-again call to weave past Michael Chee Kam on the Tigers' left edge and send Watson over for his first of the afternoon.
The momentum continued when Luke Keary put Guerra into a huge hole to barge his way over next to the posts and extend the lead for the Tricolours.
Ivan Cleary opted for rookie Esan Marsters late in the half and the 20-year-old was able to put enough pressure on a David Nofoaluma kick for Roosters forward Kane Evans to spill the ball in the in-goal, allowing for Tedesco to pounce and jag a try back heading into the break.
Completions were an issue for the both sides after oranges until a neat offload from Roosters interchange forward Zane Tetevano allowed for Keary to break up the middle and find Pearce for the visitors' fourth of the afternoon.
Pearce made it 12 tries in 15 games against the joint venture when Mitchell was put into space on the left edge, before kicking inside for the Blues halfback to get the ball down with centimetres in it.
A further error from the Tigers through Jacob Liddle sent Trent Robinson's side up field once more and Guerra went through some flimsy goal-line defence for his second four-pointer of the afternoon.
The Roosters hit the 40 mark when Waerea-Hargreaves gave Wests Tigers lock Elijah Taylor a big 'don't argue' fend to find Watson in support for his second.
It was a monster performance from the former Kiwi international who ran for over 171 metres in a 57-minute performance.
A late consolation try to Sauaso Sue narrowed the Roosters' lead, however it was all too late for the joint venture.
Sydney Roosters 40 (Pearce 2, Guerra 2, Watson 2, Ferguson tries; Gordon 6 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 18 (Lolohea, Tedesco, Sue tries; Lolohea 3 goals) at Campbelltown Stadium. Half-time: Roosters 16-12. Crowd: 10,066.