The Sydney Roosters have been defeated in a drama-filled contest, going down 34-16 to the Brisbane Broncos at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
As the Club and Red, White and Blue faithful celebrated the career of Club Legend and captain Jake Friend, another career began as the SCG crowd witnessed the much-anticipated debut of seventeen-year-old Joseph Suaalii.
Despite briefly overturning a 10-nil deficit in the first half, an emotionally charged Roosters outfit were unable to claim victory for the retiring captain and rookie.
With the Chookpen fired up and in full cheer from the ensuing set of the match, the boys from Bondi were keen to make an early impression, however, both sides traded errors in a scrappy start to the contest.
The visitors looked to claim the first points of the match from an attacking bomb, but a Bunker intervention found a knock-on in the process.
Match: Roosters v Broncos
Round 11 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground*, Sydney
As emotions spilled over and tempers flared, the two sides came together in a fiery clash. Further ill-discipline cruelled the Tricolours, and eventually, Brisbane took the first points of the match. With their conversion successful, the Broncos took a 6-nil lead after ten minutes.
With the NRL's strict new rule interpretations, the boys from Bondi found themselves down to twelve men much to the disbelief of the raucous crowd.
Taking advantage of the overlap in numbers, the Broncos hit back with their second try of the match to extend their lead to 10-nil after fifteen minutes.
Following an enduring ten minute period and now back to thirteen men, the SCG stands erupted with cheer as the Tricolours got on the board through a charging Angus Crichton, who carried a number of defenders on his way to the line.
Despite an unsuccessful conversion, the Roosters closed the deficit to four points with just under fifteen minutes left in the first half.
With momentum in full swing, the Tricolours struck back in quick succession as Daniel Tupou and Sitili Tupouniua reaped the rewards from some playmaking expertise from James Tedesco, and the Roosters took the lead for the first time in the match.
Unfortunately, their opponents hit back from an intercepted pass, taking a 16-14 lead as the sides headed into the sheds.
It was a far from ideal start to the second stanza as a penalty in the first set saw the Broncos back in Roosters territory, and once again a dubious high shot found the Red, White and Blue down to twelve men and defending their line.
Despite plenty of defensive tenacity shown from the likes of Crichton and Tupou who both pulled off try-saving tackles, the Broncos extended their lead through a try off a grubber kick, and with their successful conversion, the scores read 22-14 after 46 minutes played.
Fighting tooth and nail for their retired skipper as the match fell into an arm wrestle, and although further errors invited Brisbane back to the red zone, the Bondi Wall held strong to prevent further points from being scored.
The Tricolours went from coast to coast after a crusher tackle penalty found them in opposition territory, but another chance went begging as Nat Butcher went over only for the final pass to be called forward.
From there, the Broncos struck once again and extended their lead, with the scores at 28-14 heading into the final quarter of the match.
While a 40/20 kick swung momentum to the visitors, the defensive fortitude and maturity of the Roosters shone in a pivotal moment of the match.
With time ticking down, a left-side swing saw a runaway Suaalii stopped just short of the line, before the sides once again came together in a heated exchange.
Round 11 Match Highlights: Roosters v Broncos
A head-high tackle on Victor Radley brought the crowd to their feet as Matt Lodge was sent to the sin-bin, with the colosseum-like atmosphere coming to the forefront as the Broncos were down to twelve men for the rest of the match.
Another high shot saw Trent Robinson's men opt for a penalty goal to close the deficit to two converted tries with seven minutes left thanks to the boot of Adam Keighran, however, a frantic period saw the match sealed for the Broncos who scored through a long-range effort in the final minutes.
Sydney Roosters 16 (Angus Crichton, Daniel Tupou, Sitili Tupouniua tries; Sam Walker goals; Adam Keighran penalty goal) def by Brisbane Broncos 34 (David Mead 3, Dale Copley, John Asiata, Keenan Palasia tries; Jamayne Isaako 5 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!