Robinson praises match-winner Tupou
Roosters coach Trent Robinson singled out winger Daniel Tupou as making the play of the match in preventing Wests Tigers winger Corey Thompson from scoring the match-winner in the north-east corner of Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
Had Thompson been able to get the ball over the line in the 78th minute it would have completed a stunning Wests Tigers comeback.
But Tupou swooped and rolled Thompson off balance to save the day. The full-time hooter sounded for Roosters to grab the 16-14 win.
"That was probably THE play defensively for us," Robinson said post-match.
"Toops finishes those tries. He's known for that catching and finishing of tries. But he's a very good back-field carrier and defensive winger as well.
"And he had to be on that play. There was [only] inches in that play and he had to have his techniques about him to roll him [Thompson] over and he did.
"That was a huge play for us."
It also made a remarkable 80 minutes for Tupou in his first game back after tearing his pectoral muscle in round two.
Roosters fullback Blake Ferguson also received praise from Robinson despite a flurry of ball-handling mistakes in the first half.
It was Ferguson who on the other side of Allianz Stadium made a second try-saving cover tackle, this time on centre Mahe Fonua.
"He had some moments, Fergs. But that's Fergs," Robinson said with a wry smile.
"But he keeps turning up and playing like he has all year. One thing is that he organised our line very well," he said, adding that the Wests Tigers organised their attack a little differently than in past weeks.
"And Fergo had to organise on the run based on that. And that was a really a credit to him and his footy nous."
Ferguson was startling in attack too – he made 24 runs for 223 metres, had a line break, a line-break assist, a try assist and kicked two from two goals.
Robinson said Ferguson, plus players like Jake Friend and Luke Keary, were disappointed not to have made respective State of Origin teams.
"They were pretty close but I don't think we've put ourselves in the position enough to demand that players we think should play were in there," he said.
However, defence of the calibre produced by Ferguson and Tupou was complemented by forwards like Friend (42 tackles), Victor Radley (42) and Nat Butcher (39).
"Gutsy defence. It was what kept us in the game and got us home.
"I was really proud of the guys because there were enough opportunities to lose the game, and we didn't. We kept fighting; we kept holding on and that showed good backbone," Robinson said.
The scrambling defence by the Roosters over the last set by the Tigers drove home that point.
"There was people moving let, right and centre trying to shut down the play, trying to stop that moment rather than sitting and waiting," Robinson said.
"That's the difference when you see confidence in teams in wanting those moments. That was an enormous sign for us as coaches."