Roosters v Wests Tigers: Five key points
The Roosters survived a frenetic Tigers comeback engineered by star recruit James Tedesco to claim a 22-18 win to keep in touch with the Telstra Premiership top two.
Roosters find a way to win
It looked like the Tricolours would coast to a comfortable win when they raced out to a 16-0 lead after 29 minutes, but three tries in a row saw the Tigers roar home to hit the front on the hour mark.
There was every chance the Roosters could fold as they did last week against the Storm when Joe Stimson scored at the death to steal the win, but this time they controlled the final 20 minutes and were rewarded with a crucial two competition points.
"We got into a position where we put ourselves under pressure and then I thought we did really well in the last 15 minutes. That's how you want to finish a game," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
"There was a lot of pressure around that and you could see the game going either way, and I thought they handled the clock pressure and the score pressure really well to finish."
The next step for the Roosters is to put together an 80-minute performance.
"Our first 65 (minutes) last week was awesome, and our last 15 this week was awesome," co-captain Jake Friend said.
"If we can put that together then I think we're playing good footy in patches and we've got some good players."
Plenty to like about Tigers' resilience
It wasn't long ago that the Tigers would have lost a game like that by 50 points.
But for the second week in a row, Ivan Cleary's men showed resilience beyond their years to fight back and hit the lead when most people expected them to lose by a cricket core.
"I thought coming back from 16-nil down was a pretty good effort," Cleary said.
"Last week was similar and we're definitely improving in the resilience stakes. You only really get that confidence from demonstrating it and we've now done it a few times. The next step is to turn those close ones into wins."
Tedesco steals the show
He signed a four-year deal to join the Roosters in 2018 but fullback James Tedesco showed he is still committed to the Tigers with a star showing against his future suitors.
Tedesco ran for 156 metres, scored a try, set another one up, broke the line twice and produced some huge plays in defence to earn high praise from the man who will coach him next year.
"He made a huge difference in that scoreline in the pressure that he built against us," Robinson said.
"It's a credit to him and it's a credit to the way the Tigers are playing at the backend of this year."
Roosters make it a perfect 10
It mightn't have come easily but the Roosters have now won 10 matches in a row against the Wests Tigers, with Saturday's result the narrowest of the lot.
The win didn't just continue their impressive record against the joint-venture side; it moved them level on competition points with the second-placed Broncos with two rounds remaining.
Given their inferior for-and-against, the Tricolours will have to beat the Sharks and Titans and hope Brisbane stumble in the next fortnight if they want to earn a home semi in the first week of the finals.
Encouraging signs for Cleary
They mightn't have come away with the two competition points but Ivan Cleary believes performances like Saturday's will be invaluable for his young troops heading into next season.
Following on from last week's impressive win over the Sea Eagles, the Tigers took it to a Roosters side that was playing for a top four spot and could have won had a few things gone their way.
"Nights like this, while we didn't get the result, that's against a pretty quality team out there and it was a big game for them so for us to stand up for 80 minutes – particularly these young guys – they'll certainly look back at them and it will help a lot," Cleary said.