Roosters shut out injury-hit Warriors
Criticised and questioned over the first two months of the season, a mercilessly clinical Sydney Roosters fired a warning shot to their Telstra Premiership rivals with Saturday's crushing 32-0 shutout of the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.
In their first trip away from Sydney this year, the Roosters ran in five tries to none to record their sixth win of the year in emphatic style.
Missing key players in Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke, the Warriors' attack was virtually non-exsistent while the Roosters looked to have finally found their swagger with ball in hand.
Led by strong performances from captain Boyd Cordner and Dylan Napa, in particular, the Roosters dominated physically on both sides of the ball and denied the Warriors any momentum through the middle third.
Also starring for the Roosters were NSW Origin candidates Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco and Luke Keary, with the latter out-playing Warriors five-eighth and fellow Blues hopeful Blake Green.
A personal battle between big men Agnatius Paasi and Napa had the crowd on their feet from start to finish, one of the many first half collisions resulting in Napa getting penalised for a shoulder charge and Paasi sent to the blood bin.
The Roosters opened the evening's scoring curtesy of a Mitchell penalty goal, the lone points throughout the opening 20 minutes of action.
Eventually, after defending back to back sets however, the Warriors goal line defence cracked.
Cooper Cronk drifted right and delivered a beautiful short ball for Ryan Matterson to stroll over untouched. Mitchell converted and Sydney took a 8-0 lead.
The visitors were in again two minutes before half-time, Joseph Manu on the end of a relatively simple shift to the left which caught the Warriors defence napping.
Mitchell converted from out wide and the Roosters went into the sheds 14-0 up – the Warriors held scoreless in the first half for the second time this season.
Napa was a man on a mission throughout and in the opening set of the second 40, forcing an error out of Sam Lisone with a jarring hit.
The Roosters wasted no time cashing in, Blake Ferguson crossing in the corner after just two minutes of second-half play to push the lead to three converted tries.
Three soon became four when Luke Keary sold a dummy and sliced through the Warriors' defensive line on halfway before finding James Tedesco on the inside. In his 100th NRL game, the NSW fullback scored under the posts and Mitchell's conversion extended the lead to 24-0.
From there it was all the Tricolours, Mitchell proving a handful for the Warriors' right edge defence every time he touched the ball.
Match: Warriors vs Roosters
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
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In a 2018 first, fans began to flood out of Mt Smart with 13 minutes remaining on the clock.
Mitchell kicked a penalty goal moments later to put the result to bed at 26-0.
Napa was put on report late for another shot on Paasi, who was forced to leave the field for his second HIA of the evening.
The visitors inflicted more pain for those fans who did stay, Isaac Liu scoring under the sticks off a Mitchell shortball after a penalty goal had extended the visitors' lead.
Tempers flared late and Jared Warea-Hargreaves was sent to the sin bin after a push and shove between the big men.
It mattered for little in the end, the Roosters runaway winners 32-0.