Canterbury Bulldogs late charge does not overcome lackluster performance.
The Sydney Roosters have solidified their place in the NRL top four with an excellent 20-18 victory against the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
Despite the close scoreline, the Roosters outplayed their opponents for most of the clash and deserved to win by more as they handled the loss of their State of Origin stars much better than their opponents.
The Roosters scored first with a surging run by Shaun Kenny-Dowall saw him split the Bulldogs in a well-constructed play to make the score 4-0.
A 40-20 kick by Jake Friend out of dummy-half had Ben Barba scrambling at the back for the Bulldogs, but replays showed he did not have possession of the ball when he stepped on the line.
Canterbury showed excellent line speed to cut down the Roosters as they attempted to come
out of their own half.
Sonny Bill Williams, shook off a glute strain to play on both sides of the ruck for the Roosters as he showed solid skills, with both sides looking likely to break through at any moment.
Off the back of a penalty, Barba sliced through the Roosters line in piece of individual skill as Trent Hodgkinson nailed the sideline conversion made it 6-4 to the Bulldogs.
A Bulldogs mistake off a bomb which allowed a short ball to Boyd Cordner to bust through the line
to see the Roosters take the lead again 10-6.
After several strong hit-ups by the Roosters pack, Brent Guerra lost the ball when it was stripped by the Bulldogs in the in-goal area, resulting in a drop-out by Canterbury.
Roosters debutant Dylan Napa was placed on report for a shoulder charge against James Graham
just before half time.
However, Napa redeemed himself soon after when he pulled off a one-on-one steal from Sam Kasiano to stop a possible try just before half-time as the Roosters lead at the break 10-6.
Both side’s handling was terrible to begin the second half, with a slue to turnovers resulting in neither being able to build pressure in attack.
Williams sent Roger Tuivasa-Sheck down the right winger before a flick-pass to Kenny-Dowall gave him his double for the night and made the score 16-6.
Canterbury continued to misfire in attack early in the second half as the game started to quickly get away from them.
Cordner’s second off an excellent short pass by Mortimer, allowed the home side to race out to a 14-point lead as they looked set to run away with the lead.
But Canterbury breathed life into the game when Kasiano threw a cut out pass to Dene Halatau, who ran a good, hard line to score next to the posts to make the score 20-12 with nine minutes left.
A late try to Canterbury’s Krisnan Inu saw his side try and restart the game as quickly as they could, but it would to only be a consolation as time expired.