An inspirational Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has led his side to a thrilling 35-34 victory over the Gold Coast Titans, with Sam Walker kicking the winning field goal in the dying stages of the match.
Despite late changes to the side including the omission of captain James Tedesco, the Tricolours put on a starring performance on the Gold Coast, extending their winning streak against the Titans to seven.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves celebrated his 250th NRL match with a strong captain's knock, which included a number of try savers, while another young front rower kicked off his own NRL career as Ben Thomas became the latest youngster to debut.
The match began as a dubious Captain's Challenge from the Titans for a ruck infringement was successful, and the Red, White and Blue found themselves defending their own line.
A scrambling Lachlan Lam saved his side in the early stages by diving on a loose ball, and just minutes later, the Titans lost their right to a Captain's Challenge for the rest of the match as a high ball was unsuccessfully contested.
Match: Titans v Roosters
Round 14 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Storming downfield, Waerea-Hargreaves looked to inspire his side, bowling over the Gold Coast defence, and the Bondi Wall was in form as Matt Ikuvalu took Philip Sami over the sideline with the first superb try-saving effort of the first half.
Soon enough the Roosters were at the other end of the field, with Adam Keighran pinning the Titans back with a slick kick from dummy-half, and then forcing an error with a strong tackle. From there, Ikuvalu got over from dummy half for the first try of the match, following a strong charge from Joseph Suaalii.
Keighran's sideline conversion gave the Roosters a 6-nil lead after fifteen minutes.
The momentum through the middle of the field continued to propel the Roosters as Lam and Angus Crichton combined to put on a bruising hit to forcing an error much to the delight of their teammates. The returning back rower was rewarded just minutes later, as he was unleashed by a magic short ball from Sam Walker to streak away and score the side's second try.
With a quarter of the match played, the Roosters took a 12-nil lead as Keighran kicked his second conversion.
After a scare from their opponents backfired as a kick handed over a seven tackle set, the Roosters made their way downfield again and Walker was at it again as a cut-out ball sent Daniel Tupou over for his 110th career try.
Keighran's form with the boot continued as he kicked another sideline conversion, with the Roosters leading 18-nil after 25 minutes played.
With five home games left in season 2021, we're offering you the chance to become a True Rooster for 30% off ALL Sydney Roosters Full-Season Memberships as we aim to break the 17,000 Member mark!
The Tricolours continued to exert their dominance with powerful charges and expansive play as Suaalii and Walker combined on the right, but from there, their defensive fortitude would be tested.
The desperate defence refused to let up as Waerea-Hargreaves held up a fleet-footed Jayden Campbell with a monumental effort, but unfortunately, the sheer weight of possession saw the Titans cross with a minute left in the first half.
After a strong first half, the Roosters led 18-4 as the sides made their way into the sheds, despite having just 38% of the possession.
Round 14 Match Highlights: Roosters v Titans
The Red, White and Blue kicked off the second half in emphatic fashion, as a scheming Lachlan Lam snuck through the defence and put his halves partner over for a memorable four-pointer as Walker crossed under the posts.
Keighran's conversion saw the Roosters take a 22-4 lead after 45 minutes played.
A further reshuffle was needed as Walker was taken from the field, but his replacement Adam Keighran came up clutch by diving on an attacking kick and soon again the Red, White and Blue were on the board as Joseph Manu strolled over to score with a left-foot step.
Post Match with Ben Thomas
Keighran's fifth conversion was successful, giving the side a 30-4 lead after 51 minutes played.
An uncharacteristic error 20 metres from the line gave the Titans a chance to strike back, but yet again, the aggressive goal-line defence forced a wayward pass to go into touch.
In a bizarre sequence following a dubious stripping penalty, a quick tap from the Titans saw Fogarty sneak over for his second, and soon after the Roosters were down to twelve men after a misfiring tackle found Ben Marschke in the sin-bin.
From there the Titans scored again as the final quarter of the match loomed, with the scores reading 30-16 as the goal was converted.
Suaalii looked to fire up his teammates with a thumping shot on front rower Jarrod Wallace, but the pressure continued as a grubber kick was lost just ten metres from the try line. Once again, the Titans crossed, and the lead reduced to eight with seventeen minutes left.
As the home side sent another scare into camp with yet another raid on the line, Josh Morris showed his composure as he took a fifth tackle kick with aplomb, relieving a tonne of pressure and swinging momentum back to his side.
Unfortunately, another error saw the Titans take advantage of their numbers as Tino Fa'asuamaleaui crossed. With twelve minutes left, the Roosters held a 30-28 lead.
Back with thirteen on the field and in a tense final ten minutes, the Roosters got back to work through the middle third, but again it was the Titans carrying momentum and taking the lead, as Kevin Proctor dived on a grubber kick.
With Fogarty's conversion, the Titans now took the lead 34-30 with six minutes left in the contest - but the Roosters were far from done.
It was cometh the hour, cometh the man as Sam Walker returned to the field in the dying stages, combining with Suaalii to force an error on David Fifita in a pivotal moment of the match.
Back with the ball in hand and just over the halfway line the Tricolours trundled downfield to put themselves in a scoring opportunity, and it was Matt Ikuvalu who touched down over the line in the corner, thanks to a Joseph Manu cut-out.
Post Match with Sam Walker
With the conversion waved away, the scores were now level at 34-all with just three minutes remaining - and Walker would prove his worth to the side with time running out.
A booming field goal attempt fell just short, but a lost ball just before halfway put the Roosters in prime position to ice the match.
Another inspiring run from their captain put his side in prime position, and it was a Sam Walker field goal that iced the result, with his teammates in full celebration as the Roosters took home a 35-34 win.
Sydney Roosters 35 (Matt Ikuvalu 2, Angus Crichton, Daniel Tupou, Sam Walker, Joseph Manu tries; Adam Keighran 5 goals; Sam Walker field goal) def Gold Coast Titans 34 (Jamal Fogarty 2, Tyrone Peachey, Brian Kelly, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Kevin Proctor tries; Jamal Fogarty 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!