The Sydney Roosters have bounced back in style at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground, with a 32-12 victory against the New Zealand Warriors on Easter Sunday.
In what was a gritty contest, the Roosters' defensive effort proved to be pivotal, with a number of try-savers from the Red, White and Blue keeping their opponents scoreless in the second half.
Debutant halfback Sam Walker announced himself in the NRL with a try assist in the hard-fought win, while Ben Marschke was a strong presence from the bench in his first match in the top grade.
Round 4 Match Highlights: Roosters v Warriors
It was a strong first set in both attack and defence for the Tricolours, marching downfield with a number of strong runs, while keeping the Warriors well in their own half.
A dubious tackle on Brett Morris midair saw the Roosters opt for a tap restart from a penalty, but it was a missed opportunity for the Red, White and Blue as a dropped ball over the line on fifth tackle handed the visitors with possession.
An attempted strip soon after went awry for the home side, and it would be the Warriors taking their chances as a ricochet saw them score under the posts from a mid-field kick. With the conversion successful, the Roosters trailed by six points after eight minutes.
Frantic play and ill-discipline handed the Warriors further possession, and just as it looked like they would extend their lead, a brilliant chase from Morris saw the veteran winger dislodge the ball from a runaway Kodi Nikorima with a textbook tackle, saving a certain try.
Easts would continue to rumble downfield, and on the ensuing set a dazzling James Tedesco would touch down, fooling the defence with a dummy and sprinting 40 metres downfield to score his seventh try of the season.
With the conversion unsuccessful, the Roosters would trail by two after an entertaining first quarter of the match.
Another penalty for a mid-air tackle - this time against the Tricolours - coupled with a dubious six again call saw the Warriors back in the red zone, and would strike next through a slicing grubber kick. With their conversion successful, the visitors extended their lead to eight with sixteen left in the first half.
But momentum would swing back the way of the Roosters, forcing an error 30 out from the try line in a crunching tackle. With multiple defenders on him, a charging run from Angus Crichton had the Red, White and Blue in prime position to hit back, and their patience would be rewarded as debutant Sam Walker put Nat Butcher over with a well-timed pass after drawing in the defence.
Siosiua Taukeiaho's conversion saw the scores at 10-12 with just over ten minutes left before the break, but the boys from Bondi were far from done.
Walker would leave his mark again, forcing an error from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck by hoisting a towering kick, and on the next set, a right-side swing saw Morris crash over in the corner to score his eighth try of the season.
Post Match with Sam Walker
With momentum behind them, it was the left side's time to shine as a weaving Crichton took advantage of his side's free-spirited ball-playing, however, an intervention from the bunker denied the backrower a four-pointer as Tedesco was deemed to have illegally run behind a teammate.
The sides would trade errors in their respective attacking zones in the shadows of half-time, going into the sheds 16-12 with Easts in the lead.
An error in the ruck from the Warriors gave the Tricolours the perfect opportunity to extend their lead just one minute into resumption, and although the side came away without points, the tone was set for the second half.
Match: Roosters v Warriors
Round 4 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground*, Sydney
Ill-discipline would creep into the Roosters' camp, inviting their opponents into their half and although the Red, White and Blue made a number of try-saving efforts, including a herculean effort on a rampaging Leeson Ah Mau from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Walker, a mistimed intercept saw the Warriors with more ball, forcing multiple drop-outs.
With their backs to the wall, the Bondi Wall held strong through a gruelling ten minute period, with the pressure relieved as the spirited defence forced an error after sustaining multiple sets on the line.
Now with the pendulum swinging their way, it would be the Roosters who struck next, going from end-to-end as Morris pirouetted out of dummy-half following some incisive running from his teammates to touch down.
Despite the conversion swaying, the Roosters took an eight-point lead with just over a quarter of the match left.
It wouldn't be too long before the side struck again, and The Chookpen was crowing as a ricocheted pass was collected by Drew Hutchison, scoring under the post after a 40-metre run.
Sam Walker would step up to the plate, converting his five-eighth's try as the scoreboard read 26-12 with the final quarter of the match looming.
Post Match with Victor Radley
With fatigue creeping in on both sides of the field, back-to-back errors would once again welcome the Warriors back into the contest, but a last-ditch effort from Crichton would force Ken Maumalo's onto the sideline just as he looked to touch down, denying a certain try.
A wasted Captain's Challenge from the visitors put the Roosters back in attack and close to the line, and with Josh Morris crossing over as he collected a loose pass to touch down, the result was sealed as the Roosters went out 32-12 winners.
Sydney Roosters 32 (Brett Morris 2, James Tedesco, Nat Butcher, Drew Hutchison, Josh Morris tries; Siosiua Taukeiaho 4, Sam Walker goals) def New Zealand Warriors 12 (Adam Pompey, Tohu Harris tries; Kodi Nikorima 2 goals)
Stay tuned for more from Roosters.com.au including Match Highlights, Roosters TV Post-Match Interviews and Head Coach Trent Robinson's Press Conference!