Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson labelled his side's 24-16 win over the Wests Tigers as a "mixed" performance but declared he's thoroughly enjoying the defending premiers' rollercoaster season.
The Tricolours showed glimpses of their best despite being without Origin representatives James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner during their eight-point victory at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night with Luke Keary returning with a bang to steer the ship in the halves helping and create three tries.
Keary's return after six weeks of rest following a concussion scare was welcomed by the eastern suburbs outfit with his combination alongside Latrell Mitchell on the left edge a real highlight.
Robinson refuted suggestions earlier in the week that Mitchell was relying on Keary's return to spark his own game, while adding the season continued to produce different challenges for his team.
"I think Latrell's form has been very good. I think Latrell creates a lot for himself. I don't think he needs to rely on anyone else but we love having them as a combination," Robinson said.
"Again just another article around what's needed but the guys obviously opened up the game for us with some great carries. Some great footy, he doesn't need anybody but having great combinations is important to the team.
Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Roosters
"I was pleased that we were able to get back in control of the game. I thought [Keary] was getting going, I felt like he was pretty good for six we off to come back into it he had a good game.
"I felt a few guys were that way. I thought our bench was the difference, not that theirs wasn't, I thought they did well as well.
"I thought when Angus [Crichton], Poasa [Faamausili] and Sitili [Tupouniua] came on they changed the momentum."
Robinson is not usually one to praise the opposition but felt the Wests Tigers had pushed his side to a high-quality level game.
"You go through a game like that and think geez we did a lot of good stuff and then to allow two tries after half-time was disappointing," he said.
"I felt like they won a lot of contacts but we executed well – it was a bit mixed."
The win meant Roosters leapfrogged South Sydney into second position on the Telstra Premiership ladder on for-and-against after bouncing back from last week's narrow loss to Melbourne.
Robinson is expected to rest Cordner for next week's clash against the Cowboys on the Central Coast and is hopeful of having co-captain Jake Friend back on deck with the representative period about to end.
"I've really enjoyed this year, you're not going to climb the same path as you do every year it's a new journey," Robinson said.
"It's been a wild one so far already. There's so many combinations and movements we've had to make and it's good. It builds resilience and a depth of combinations you may use in smaller periods."
The Roosters have only one concern to come out of the clash with Joseph Manu requiring stiches to a gash above the right eye after collecting an accident elbow from Kiwis teammate Esan Marsters in the second half.