Keary 'never more fatigued' than in win over Bulldogs
Luke Keary could not remember being "more physically fatigued in the final five minutes" of a game than during the Roosters marathon defensive shut-out of Canterbury on Thursday night.
The 6-0 defeat ranked as the lowest scoring game since the Tricolours epic 4-0 blitz of Manly en route to their 2013 premiership triumph in Trent Robinson's first season at Bondi.
The coach admitted afterwards that it had "been a couple of years since we've defended like that".
To a man the red, white and blue dropped to the turf once the siren sounded, having defended 15 more sets than the Bulldogs, almost nine of which were camped inside the Roosters own 20-metre zone.
"I was busted. That's as fatigued as I've been that late in the contest," Keary told NRL.com.
"We always talk about holding a team to nil, so it's pretty nice to get one.
"Our middles really stepped up at the game and during the week I think they got stuck into each other a bit too.
"I tend to stay out of that, but when we are on our line they're trying to create a bit of energy and keep us going, which worked tonight."
Having leaked metres through the middle in a humbling defeat to Souths just seven days earlier, Robinson lauded his side's character, backing them to have continued the shut-out if the contest had been pushed into extra-time.
Skipper Boyd Cordner didn't blink when that prospect was raised, despite churning through 50 tackles himself in a gut-busting 80-minute effort.
"For sure, if that's what it took," Cordner said.
"Although we were hurting out there, we just had that feeling that we were just going to keep turning up for each other.
"We defended our line in the first half and just kept turning up as a team. Although our tackling and some details weren't as good, the effort from the boys to keep turning up and hold our line and that desire to save the try and do whatever it takes, that was really, really pleasing."
The defensive turnaround was made all the more impressive by the fact it came without Jake Friend for half the match, after the hooker was concussed and required four stitches to his head.
With a short turnaround to Wednesday's bumper Anzac Day clash against the Dragons, the club is confident Friend will pass head knock protocols to take his place.
The Roosters may however be sweating the fitness of big man Dylan Napa, who sustained an AC joint injury to his shoulder before halftime.
Despite having only six days between Thursday's epic defensive effort and the marquee clash with St. George-Illawarra, Robinson won't be backing off the training work that kept their line unconquered.
"You don't fluke zeroes," Robinson said.
"But you don't hold on to them unless you go back to the work you've done for months to get one.
"We trained pretty physical this week. We don't want to train soft and give one of those (poor) performances, we want to make sure we're ready to go. We'll train as intensely as we can."