Roosters v Cowboys: Five key points
A dubious try inspired a comeback, with the Sydney Roosters sending a strong message to rivals as they eye off the minor premiership against a Cowboys outfit continuing to prove they can match it with the top teams without Johnathan Thurston.
Hess try swings momentum
When has a four-pointer to a side ever turned the control and momentum back in favour of the opposition?
Roosters fans were absolutely filthy when referee Grant Atkins ruled Cowboys back-rower Coen Hess got the ball down in the first half to take the visitors out to a 16-6 lead after insufficient evidence in the Bunker could not overturn the decision.
The Tricolours responded in superb fashion though to keep the Cowboys scoreless in the second half and run rampant with an 86 per cent completion rate.
"That [Hess try] was disappointing but we knew if we reacted to stuff we couldn't control we would've been in trouble so it was pretty calm at half-time," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said post-game.
"It's hard because we don't get enough angles but he didn't get it down for mine.
"I think there was enough to say he didn't but we can't control too much of that."
Roosters within reach of top spot
Trent Robinson's men are officially on a roll and are beginning to put the heat on the Melbourne Storm in the race for the minor premiership.
While both clubs will be just happy to maintain their place in the top four (and top two for that matter) the opportunity to finish No.1 is certainly within reach, and would be a nice piece of silverware to have at the end of a regular season.
"Finishing in the top four is important in our game and statistically shows that," Robinson said.
"Good form and keeping up the ladder is what we want to continue to do - the minor premiership is not important to us at all."
Cowboys not out of it
When Johnathan Thurston was ruled out for the season, not only did many punters put a red line through the Cowboys but for even some fans, they conceded the side would struggle to make the finals.
Despite their first loss on Saturday night without Thurston in the No.7 jersey this season, an even share of possession in the second half could have made for a different result.
Cowboys coach Paul Green was confident his team would take positives out of the contest for next week's clash with the Melbourne Storm in Townsville.
"It was a good contest with two good teams that will hopefully be there at the backend of the year," he said after the loss on Saturday night.
"We showed plenty of character but we need to be smarter, some of their tries were let in too easily and we knew they were coming but couldn't stop them.
"They played some good footy to beat us."
Tricolours have Taumalolo of their own
Sio Siua Taukeiaho's second game back from injury was arguably one of the best of his career and added a strike weapon for the Roosters he missed the past three months prior to the Knights game in Round 20.
The 25-year-old amassed 214 metres in just 42 minutes and delivered the Roosters a try through brute strength to level the contest up at 16-16 midway through the second half.
For the record, Jason Taumalolo wasn't too bad either and the best in a beaten side with 21 carries for 236 metres.
Injury fears for Friend replacement
Young hooker Victor Radley left the Sydney Football Stadium with a splint on his thumb after playing the entire 80 minutes, however initial fears the 19-year-old has a broken hand were dismissed by the club.
Scans are set to reveal the full extent of damage on Sunday.
With the Roosters missing skipper Jake Friend for at least another fortnight, the potential loss of Radley could leave coach Trent Robinson left to reshuffle his squad once more after a terrible run of injuries of late.
Remarkably though, he opted not to use Mitch Cornish on Saturday night with the halfback sitting on the bench for the whole contest.