The Sydney Roosters' multi-million dollar spending spree over summer took centre stage for one game-defining moment in a 30-12 trouncing of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Friday night.
The big spending that brought genuine superstars Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco to Bondi had seen the Tricolours installed as the shortest priced pre-season favourites in a decade.
Which made a first-up loss to the unheralded Wests Tigers all the more tough to swallow in round one.
But as Cronk and Tedesco warm to their task, chiefly delivering a title to Bondi after three minor premierships in Trent Robinson's five-year tenure, the money play came just as the Bulldogs threatened a second half fightback.
Holding a 12-point lead but with Canterbury starting brightly after the break, Cronk sent Tedesco into the back field with a short ball, before backing up and scoring his first try in the red, white and blue after his high profile off-season shift from the Melbourne Storm.
''That was one of the nice moments,'' Robinson said of the play.
''It was great to see them combine for that play there. Cooper's known for his support through the middle and being right on the spot there.
Match: Roosters v Bulldogs
Round 2 -
Venue: Allianz Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
''But it was nice to see James move like he did around the play. We just had better combinations.''
After an underwhelming showing in last week's surprise loss to his junior Wests Tigers club, Tedesco lived up to his billing against the Bulldogs, who also chased him hard before a four-deal with the Roosters was inked.
The NSW Origin fullback finished with two try assists and a four-pointer of his own before halftime in a busy performance that also featured 155 running metres and six tackle busts.
But while Luke Keary's return from a broken jaw saw a marked improvement in the Roosters' all-star playmaking spine, the club will be without ex-Blues winger Daniel Tupou for some time after he suffered a torn pectoral in the first half.
Tupou has been sent for scans on the injury that left him in agony after a tackle on Josh Jackson went wrong, with a two-month lay-off on the cards.
With back-rower Mitch Aubusson also copping a head cut that required 12 stitches, Robinson lauded his team's ability to get the job done with 15 men.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Robinson confirmed Tupou's sidelining but hopes Aubusson will be available for next week's clash with former halfback Mitch Pearce and the Newcastle Knights.
''Aubbo's got a nice little zipper on his head,'' Robinson said.
''He remembers the incident and all that but couldn't go back. Aubbo's good and Toops is not so good.''