Roosters v Souths: Five key points

Jake Friend and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves pick up the slack, Souths struggle with their new entertainers tag, classy Cornish states his case for more first grade and Roosters make the Rabbits pay for their penalties.

Friend gets it done at both ends

Missing Mitchell Pearce and Blake Ferguson the Roosters needed to find some inspiration in attack and it was their hard-working skipper Jake Friend who came up with the plays to edge is side in front.

A short kick into the in-goal gave Joseph Manu enough time to sneak in behind South Sydney and get his hand on the ball, and as the Rabbitohs fought back into the contest in the second half it was Friend who found Aidan Guerra in space to restore the eight-point buffer they took into half-time.

But his contribution wasn't solely confined to the fun part of the field as he moved into first place on the list of tacklers in 2017 with 61 including 30 in the first half.

Souths struggle with entertainers tag

Fresh off 42 points last week against the Panthers the Rabbitohs seemed intent on continuing to promote the football, coming up with two offloads in the opening set to put the Roosters on notice.

But after they fell eight points behind their adventurous style seemed to develop a sense of panic as passes went to ground and poor options were taken in attack.

After scoring early in the second half the Rabbitohs had a chance to apply further pressure on the back of an Adam Reynolds 40/20 yet a wide shift on play one finished with Sam Burgess dropping the ball 10 metres from the Roosters' line.

For too long South Sydney have relied solely on a power game to pummel teams into submission so their new sense of enterprise needs to continue, they just need to be more selective in the times that they use it.

Waerea-Hargreaves stands tall

Knowing there was a triumvirate of Burgesses ready to rip into him and without Dylan Napa and Boyd Cordner by his side Kiwi enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves needed to lead the way in the middle and did so in magnificent fashion.

Refusing to come off in the first half Waerea-Hargreaves racked up 138 metres from 15 carries and carried it forward in a 10-minute stint in the second term, finishing with 210 metres and 31 tackles to help his side secure a win that keeps their top four prospects well and truly on track.

Roosters make Rabbits pay for penalties

Virtually all of the Telstra Premiership teams score the majority of their tries in the set after penalties and the Roosters are no different.

After a bright start from the Rabbitohs the momentum of the game swung when a heavy John Sutton kick handed the Roosters a seven-tackle set and a penalty midway through that set allowed them to march further down the field.

Having scored 17 tries on the back of penalties already in 2017, the Roosters added another when Jake Friend's toe-poke into the in-goal was grounded by Joseph Manu for the only try of the first half.

The second in a run of five successive penalties from the set after points allowed Michael Gordon to add two further points and give the Roosters a handy 8-0 buffer at the break and the penalty against Cody Walker for taking out Latrell Mitchell midway through the second half led directly to the try to Aidan Guerra.

Classy Cornish states case for more first grade

He seemed destined for a long first-grade career as he came through the junior ranks at the Raiders and Mitchell Cornish showed enough to suggest that he is deserving of a starting halves position somewhere within the NRL.

Brought into the starting team wearing jersey No.17 to partner Luke Keary in the Roosters' halves, Cornish had played just 16 NRL games since making his debut with Canberra in 2014 but looked comfortable in open company.

His left-foot did the majority of kicking in general play for the Roosters and worried the Rabbitohs' back three and his passing game freed up Luke Keary to probe the edge defence of his former club with his running game.

He milked a ruck penalty like a seasoned veteran, delivered an exquisite short ball for Kane Evans that almost put him across and he continued to turn the Rabbitohs around with raking kicks late in the game.

His path may be blocked at the Roosters but there's no question Cornish is a player of NRL standard.