Sydney Roosters farewelled the SCG in record fashion after posting the biggest scoreline for a rugby league match at the hallowed ground to all but secure a finals berth.
The 72-6 defeat of Wests Tigers was the most points scored by a Roosters side since Eastern Suburbs' 87-7 triumph against Canterbury in 1935 and has catapulted the team into sixth position.
The winning margin eclipsed the Roosters' 56-0 triumph against the Tigers in 2004 and lifted Trent Robinson's men ahead of South Sydney and Brisbane into sixth place on for-and-against.
For the Tigers, the defeat eclipsed the club's 64-0 loss against Melbourne in 2001 as their worst defeat and the frustration with the performance led to captain James Tamou being sent off for dissent.
Roosters second-rower Nat Butcher became the first forward to score four tries for the club since 1951, while Angus Crichton and Daniel Tupou grabbed doubles.
Halfback Sam Walker finished the match with a 24-point haul after converting each of his side's 12 tries.
With his side leading 30-0 at halftime, Robinson was able to give early marks to five-eighth Luke Keary, lock Victor Radley and prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Match: Roosters v Wests Tigers
Round 23 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
- The Roosters had two tries disallowed before right second-rower Nat Butcher pounced on a perfectly weighted Sam Walker grubber kick to score in the 11th minute.
- Starved of possession, it seemed only a matter of time before the Tigers defence cracked again and Angus Crichton prised it wide open with back-to-back tries in the 22nd and 25th minutes.
Crichton gets a quick-fire double
- Five-eighth Luke Keary held up a pass to put Butcher over for his second try in the 29th minute before Crichton sent captain James Tedesco racing away to score three minutes later.
- Leading 30-0 at halftime, the Roosters showed a ruthless streak as they piled on tries after the interval, with Connor Watson stepping past rookies Austin Dias and Tom Freebairn to score in the 43rd minute.
Watson steps his way to the line
- Drew Hutchison, playing at left centre, fended off Adam Doeuihi to score in the 47th minute and the records beckoned for the Roosters.
- Butcher completed his hat-trick five minutes later and Tonga winger Daniel Tupou grabbed a double to take the Roosters to a 60-0 lead midway through the second half.
The Roosters get the half century at the SCG
- A Brent Naden intercept try finally stemmed the one way traffic in the 74th minute.
- However, Butcher's fourth try in the 76th minute ensured that the Tigers were unable to avoid their biggest defeat by the Roosters.
Butcher has four
Play of the game
The right side combination of halfback Sam Walker and second-rower Nat Butcher is become lethal for the Roosters and the pair combined to start and finish the scoring onslaught in almost identical circumstances.
Walker grubbers for Butcher
What they said
"It was the way that we were going to play tonight that was going to be really key for us and to show what frame of mind we are in and what kind of attitude we have towards playing some tough, ruthless footy. We didn't have a minute off. We didn't have a lapse in our intensity in defence, we didn't have a lapse in our support and the power we were running with. All of those combinations of things I was really happy with. Tonight when you have that attitude you are going to rack up some records, which is nice for the last game at the SCG," - Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
Roosters: Round 23
"They are a really good football side who are in some good form. The Roosters ran for 2000 metres, we ran for 1000 metres. We got suffocated, a lot of the game was played at their attacking end. We have got some injuries in the club, we have loaned some players. It is a pretty difficult time at the moment, we just need to stay connected. I don't know whether some people have tapped out because they are going somewhere else next year or they know there are different coaches coming next year. That is just how I feel sitting here as the coach of the Wests Tigers at the moment," - Tigers coach Brett Kimmorley.
Wests Tigers: Round 23
The Roosters travel to Melbourne to take on the Storm on Friday night before hosting arch rivals South Sydney in the opening match at the new Allianz Stadium a week later.
The Tigers host the Dragons at CommBank Stadium next Sunday and the Raiders at Leichhardt Oval the following week, with the joint venture outfit needing to win at least one of their remaining games to avoid the wooden spoon.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson is set to welcome back Queensland Origin prop Lindsay Collins (HIA) and Tongan forward Siosiua Taukeiaho (cheekbone) as his side aims to secure a home final in the opening week of the play-offs.
The Tigers injury toll continues to grow, with second-rower Luke Garner lasting just three minutes before being forced from the field with a HIA and winger Ken Maumalo (groin) and utility Alex Seyfarth (shoulder) failing to finish the match.