The Sydney Roosters have put up a valiant fight against arch-rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium in what was a fiery contest.
Experienced forward Isaac Liu became just the 11th player in Club history to play 200 games in the Red, White and Blue, while outside backs Brad Abbey and Moala Graham-Taufa made their debut for the Club, becoming Sydney Roosters #1206 and #1207 respectively.
An enterprising start from the Red, White and Blue saw the side travel 80 metres downfield, and while the end of the set finished in touch, it would prove to be a sign of their determination displayed throughout the match.
A young Roosters forward pack featuring the likes of Egan Butcher, Fletcher Baker and Sitili Tupouniua made early inroads through the centre of the field, but following an uncharacteristic head-high tackle and a line drop out, the Rabbitohs scored through Alex Johnston, with the Roosters trailing 6-nil after seven minutes.
Match: Roosters v Rabbitohs
Round 24 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Clever reads from Baker and Butcher prevented Adam Reynolds from kicking on fifth tackle, and an opportunity to claim territory was opened - while great reflexes and vision from Sam Verrills shut down a dangerous kick soon after.
Looking to get on the front foot from their own half through a combination of ball playing and direct running, Easts continued to challenge the defence, but further ill-discipline saw South Sydney extend their lead to eight with a penalty goal after fifteen minutes played.
But their patience would be rewarded as a knock-on from the following set put the Tricolours in ideal field position, which allowed Joseph Manu to single-handedly field a brilliant catch from a Drew Hutchison bomb to put his side on the board.
Siosiua Taukeiaho's conversion saw the scores at 6-8 after a quarter of the match played.
Manu Leaps High for a Roosters Try
With a renewed confidence, the boys from Bondi continued to run with conviction in the face of adversity, and a powerful hit from Daniel Tupou shut down an attacking raid and dislodged the ball despite South Sydney's attempt at a Captain's Challenge.
Losing possession cruelled the Roosters as they handed the ball over following a dubious strip and an unforced error, and the Rabbitohs extended their lead to fourteen after two converted tries to Mark Nicholls after 26 minutes.
Their opponents threatened to score again, and the Bondi Wall repelled a number of threats as Tupou diffused a grubber kick, while a well-read defensive play saw Lachlan Lam cut off an overlap - but the Rabbitohs would continue their tryscoring streak through Latrell Mitchell.
With just over five minutes left in the half, yet another error saw the Roosters move from defence to attack, however, the scores would remain at 24-6 after a Daniel Tupou intercept diffused a cut-out pass on the line.
The second half began with plenty of enterprise as they looked to claim a stake for possession, with Drew Hutchison, Sam Walker and Manu threatening as Siosiua Taukeiaho plucked a wayward offload as the Bondi Wall held strong after an early challenge.
Back on the charge, Daniel Tupou was able to find space on the edge, and following a number of back-to-back sets with the ball in hand, it was game on when a crafty run from Sam Verrills saw the hooker contort himself through defenders to put the ball under the posts.
With half an hour left, the Roosters deficit closed to twelve points, despite only having two players remaining on the interchange bench.
Sam Verrills Contorts to Score
Another challenge for the Bondi Wall presented itself immediately as an audacious offload on the ensuing set gave the Rabbitohs possession, but their patience was rewarded with a seven-tackle set and their momentum continued as their adventurous play pinned their opponents in their own half.
The robust Roosters continued to create havoc in the ruck, and the defensive fortitude bore more possession. As tensions heated up, the teams came together in a fiery clash with Latrell Mitchell sent to the sin-bin following an ugly shoulder charge on Joseph Manu.
Now with a one-man advantage, the boys from Bondi looked to take full advantage, but it would be South Sydney to score next, with the scoreline reading 12-30 with just under a quarter of the contest remaining.
Not to be deterred, Easts failed to relent - absorbing wave after wave of attack - but the sheer weight of possession saw Alex Johnston and Latrell Mitchell score once more.
Tempers continued to flare between the two sides, with the match finishing with twelve players on either side.
Sydney Roosters 12 (Joseph Manu, Sam Verrills tries; Siosiua Taukeiaho, Sam Walker goals) def by South Sydney Rabbitohs 54 (Alex Johnston 3, Mark Nicholls 2, Latrell Mitchell 2, Jaxson Paulo 2 tries; Latrell Mitchell 2, Adam Reynolds 4 goals; Adam Reynolds penalty goal)
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