Latrell Mitchell's 22nd birthday started with two tries and his first win in more than a month, but ended with his Origin axing moments after the Roosters breakthrough 38-12 win over Canterbury.
Brad Fittler's stunning call to dump Mitchell from NSW rained all over the birthday boy's parade seconds after fulltime at the SCG, where the precocious young centre had been playing for his Origin supper.
Just six weeks ago the budding superstar rattled up 26 points on the same turf against Wests Tigers, but his drop-off in form since has been so alarming that Fittler has opted for Jack Wighton at left centre instead for next Sunday's must-win Origin II clash in Perth.
On a soggy Sunday afternoon the Roosters sat in second gear for much of the contest, Mitchell finishing off two scoring plays but was quiet for the most part otherwise.
His first touch was eight minutes in the making, but worth the wait as both he and the premiers warmed to their task.
Mitchell had the opening try put on a platter by winger Daniel Tupou, who flew high for a Cooper Cronk kick before sending his mercurial centre over untouched.
Mitchell produced points again with his next involvement from a penalty goal, while a belting Boyd Cordner shot forced Kieran Foran into error on his own line, putting the premiers in position for their next assault.
Match: Roosters v Bulldogs
Round 14 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
James Tedesco's absence mattered little with Joey Manu shifting to fullback and pulling a fair impersonation as he turned a one-on-one with Nu Brown into a 10-0 lead.
The Roosters gen next continued to do as they pleased at the half hour mark when Nat Butcher split Canterbury up the middle.
Benchman Sitili Tupouniua took an even more direct route to the line as he loomed in support, barging straight over the top of Marcelo Montoya with another three defenders unable to halt him.
Will Hopoate trimmed the Roosters' lead back briefly to 16-6 by spinning through their left-edge defence following a sniping Foran run in the lead up.
The veteran Kiwi half should have had a four-pointer of his own as he too muscled his way over right on halftime, only for Manu to knock the ball loose as a critical try loomed.
After the break though it was Roosters' journeyman Drew Hutchison keeping the scorers busy, latching onto another Tupou offload from the air for his first try since late 2016.
With the Tricolours in cruise control Manu was again the instigator from fullback, double pumping at the line for Mitchell to slice through again in the 63rd minute.
Isaac Liu stepped his way soon after to open his account for 2019, while Manu helped himself to one of his own late as well, simply powering through Foran as Canterbury's defence wilted.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner was awarded a 77th minute penalty try when Cronk held him back in pursuit of a grubber, merely a footnote as the Bulldogs stayed rooted to the bottom of the ladder.