Sydney Roosters enhanced their finals hopes with a comprehensive 34-16 defeat of the Broncos at the SCG on Thursday night.
Led by star five-eighth Luke Keary, who scored a try and laid on two of his side's five others, the Roosters put themselves within two points of the top four and with a chance of leapfrogging South Sydney into seventh place.
Roosters enforcer Victor Radley also played a starring role in the win after being forced from the field to have six stitches inserted in a cut above his left eye following a head clash with Jake Turpin and returning to inspire his team-mates.
Vintage Victor the Inflictor
For the Broncos, the loss puts them in danger of dropping out of top four contention following back to back defeats by Wests Tigers and the Roosters.
Match: Roosters v Broncos
Round 21 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
- The Roosters showed they meant business from the outset, scoring three tries in the opening 15 minutes and having another disallowed.
- Halfback Sam Walker was denied in the opening minutes but the Roosters continued to attack Brisbane's right side defence and a James Tedesco tip on pass saw Paul Momirovski score in the sixth minute.
The Roosters strike early
- After being denied himself, Walker turned provider with a piece of individual brilliance in which he chipped over the Broncos defence after noticing fullback Tesi Nui up in the line and Nat Butcher streaked through to touch down before the ball went dead.
- The Roosters again found success by attacking Brisbane's right edge when five-eighth Luke Keary put second-rower Angus Crichton over in the 15th minute to give the home team an 18-0 lead.
Crichton too big too strong
- A heavy tackle by Broncos hooker Jake Turpin, which left Roosters lock Victor Radley with blood literally pouring from a cut above his left eye, turned momentum midway through the first half.
- Winger Corey Oates scored his first try in the 20th minute after five-eighth Ezra Mam drifted across the face of the Roosters defence before linking with Kurt Capewell to create space for the Maroons representative.
Oates hits back for the Broncos
- Oates then went from hero to villain when he slipped attempting to position himself to field the kick-off and stumbled over the dead ball line but the Broncos survived and the scores remained 18-4 at halftime.
From hero to villain
- The second half began in similar fashion to the first, with Butcher scoring his second try in the 43rd minute when he swivelled out of an attempted tackle by Mam after running onto a short pass from Keary.
- Oates again provided hope for the Broncos when he scored in the 59th minute but an individual try by Keary, who dummied his way past Capewell, all but sealed the win with 13 minutes remaining.
Keary coming in hot
- Capewell made amends with a 72nd minute try to narrow the deficit to 30-16 but it was too little too late and Roosters star rookie Joseph Suaalii completed the scoring four minutes before fulltime.
Play of the game
Sam Walker stamped his mark on the game early when he chipped over the Broncos defensive line for Nat Butcher to race through and show great patience before reaching out to ground the bouncing ball in the Broncos in-goal.
A try just within Butcher's reach
What they said
"I thought we played fairly well tonight. I thought our defensive pressure was quite good and we stifled them at different times. I felt like we dominated and played the way we wanted to play for 40-50 minutes there. I thought from Sammy Verrills to Lodgey to Jarred Rads, they laid a platform and created a platform and then our [outside backs] jumped on the back of that." - Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
Roosters: Round 21
"We are still learning and they have got a pretty experienced side, they have been doing this for a while. We have just stuck our head over the cliff and they have been standing there, waiting for us. We will learn from tonight, certainly, all of us will - coaches included - about this time of the year. We have got the artillery there, it is just a matter of getting it right. Our starts have been poor, not just tonight but last week against the Tigers. We have been conceding points early and that is something we need to get out of our game if we are going to get to where we want to head to," - Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
Broncos: Round 21
The win consolidates the Roosters place in the top eight and if the Rabbitohs lose to the Warriors on Saturday they will climb into seventh place with four rounds remaining before the finals.
However, they face a tough run to the play-offs, with their final two matches at the SCG against the Cowboys and Tigers before a trip to Melbourne and a last round clash with arch rivals South Sydney to open the new Allianz Stadium.
Robinson said representative props Siosiua Taukeiaho (fractured cheekbone) and Lindsay Collins (head knock) won't be back for next Saturday's clash with North Queensland, but with suspended second-rower Egan Butcher is available.
After back to back losses to the Tigers and Roosters, Brisbane could drop to sixth place if the Storm beat the Titans and the Eels down the Sea Eagles on Friday night.
The Broncos face both teams in their run home, which starts with a home clash against the Knights next Saturday followed by the Storm and Eels - both at Suncorp Stadium.
Star forward Pat Carrigan returns from suspension for Brisbane's last round trip to Kogarah to play the Dragons in a clash which could have a bearing on the finals aspirations of both clubs.