The premiers beat the wooden spooners at ANZ Stadium on Friday night but you wouldn't know it from the quality of the contest, with an impressive Eels running the Roosters hard until the very end of an eventual 32-18 loss.
There were six lead changes through the 80 minutes as the Eels proved their early wins over Penrith and Canterbury were no fluke, while the Roosters reasserted their dominance despite injuries to and absences of key players.
With halfback Cooper Cronk (hamstring) ruled out pre-game, Jake Friend (shoulder) taken off in the first half and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (rib) in the second, the Roosters still managed to finish a spirited contest with al the momentum on the back of a James Tedesco masterclass.
Match: Eels v Roosters
Round 3 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
The NSW Origin fullback was in everything in both defence and attack, cleaning up kicks, returning the ball with venom and scoring two tries of his own and setting another up while busting 11 tackles.
Despite falling away in the final 15 minutes, the Eels can take plenty of heart from having competed so strongly with the Telstra Premiership favourites.
They suffered an early drama when lock Tepai Moeroa strained a calf in the warm-up, meaning Peni Terepo was pushed into the starting side and Oregon Kaufusi called up on the bench.
It didn't put them off their game though as they exploded out of the blocks, boosted by three early penalties against the Roosters. A lovely ball from prop Junior Paulo created the space for Brad Takairangi to put ex-Rooster Blake Ferguson over untouched in just the sixth minute.
An error straight after points invited the Roosters back into the contest and Tedesco powered over shortly after.
A brace of Latrell Mitchell penalty goals in the 18th and 31st minutes edged the Roosters ahead but they were dealt a blow shortly after when Friend was taken from the field with a burner to his left shoulder.
As they had in the first half the Eels started the second with all the running and hard-running winger Maiko Sivo bagged his first try when he beat three in the left corner off a precise Clint Gutherson cut-out ball to reclaim the lead.
It was the first of four lead changes in 15 minutes as Mitch Aubusson reclaimed the advantage from an acrobatic Daniel Tupou tap-back before Sivo steamrolled over Matt Ikuvalu for his double.
A Ferguson error straight after points set the Roosters back on the attack and Victor Radley burrowed over from dummy half to reclaim the lead at 20-18 with 17 minutes to play.
The Roosters, who had for stretches looked out on their feet, found their energy and launched a few attacking raids at the Eels line.
Tedesco crossed but was denied by a Luke Keary forward pass but he laid on a try assist of his own when he put Siosiua Taukeiaho over next to the posts to blow the lead out to eight points with 12 to play – the first time either side had led by more than six.
Tedesco sealed the result with another powerful individual try, carving through a tired Eels left edge in the 72nd minute to seal the 32-18 win.