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Golden Boots Dominate as Roosters Kick-On to Finals

The Sydney Roosters have finished the regular season with a dominant 40-16 victory over the Canberra Raiders on Thursday night, with kicking proving to be pivotal in the gusty conditions in Mackay. 

Trent Robinson's line up was bolstered by a number of inclusions, with Angus Crichton, Adam Keighran and Matt Ikuvalu all getting on the scoreboard upon return, while Drew Hutchison had a memorable night with the boot, laying on three try assists and forcing a number of errors.

Keighran finished the match with a 20-point haul with his first hat-trick in Roosters colours and four conversions, while Ben Marschke scored his maiden try in the NRL late in the contest. 

Robinson also became the first head coach in Club history to notch 150 wins since taking over the reins in 2013, with the three-time Premiership winning coach guiding the Roosters to an eighth finals series in nine seasons.  

With both sides showing early desperation to set themselves up for a victory, the opening few sets began with plenty of physicality with Josh Morris marking his return to the side after a month-long layoff in typical fashion by shutting down an attacking kick. 

The eagerness, however, also saw the sides trade handling errors, and after a set restart to the Raiders that saw them mount possession on the Roosters' line, it was a late offload that allowed Elliott Whitehead to crash over to score, giving them a 6-nil lead after as many minutes. 

Looking to wrestle back momentum, a penalty on the ensuing set saw the Tricolours set up camp on halfway, and although Adam Keighran was cruelly denied a four-pointer after a review from the bunker, their opponents' ill-discipline allowed Matt Ikuvalu to dive over for his twelfth try his thirteenth game of the season.

Ikuvalu Dives Over in the Corner

With illegal contact from Canberra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad on Ikuvalu in the contest, the officials awarded an eight-point try, and although Keighran missed the initial conversion from the sideline, the Roosters' sharpshooter levelled the scores from in front on his second attempt. 

Easts continued to fight through the middle of the field, but unfortunate errors handed over territory to their opponents which resulted in Josh Papalii going over as the Raiders regained the lead after a quarter of the match played - but from there it would be a Red, White and Blue tidal wave. 

Handling errors continued to hand over cheap possession with a big defensive effort needed - and Daniel Tupou proved to be the hero with a lunging effort forcing an error from fellow winger Semi Valamei.

More defensive fortitude was on display as Morris dived on a wayward pass in the opposition half, and Angus Crichton took advantage of an overlap on last tackle to dive over in the left-hand corner. 

With Keighran's curling sideline conversion sailing between the post, the scores were level at 12-all with just over ten minutes left in the half.

Crichton Dummies to Score

The windy conditions continued to trouble both sides, with attacking kicks proving to be a popular go-to weapon as Ikuvalu diffused a grubber to charge downfield and give his side a strong start to the set, while Sitili Tupouniua showed his skills with the boot by forcing a line drop out. 

A frantic fifth tackle move proved to be fruitful as Adam Keighran took advantage of another cross-field kick from Hutchison as the utility planted the ball down, and followed up his take by booting the conversion to give the Roosters a six-point lead. 

Hutchison's kicking continued to wreak havoc as a spiralling bomb saw winger Semi Valemei drop a catch ten metres from the line, and although momentum on the ensuing set was squashed through an offside penalty on fifth tackle - a stripping penalty which saw the Raiders lose their Captain's Challenge allowed Adam Keighran to give the Roosters a 20-12 lead at the break. 

Keighran Catches and Scores

Wayward offloading troubled the Tricolours on the first set of the second half, and while a scrappy start gave the Raiders a number of sets to close their deficit, the defensive fortitude of the Bondi Wall held their opponents out.

Soon after, an inside pass from Egan Butcher unleashed James Tedesco burst through the line, and on the next play, Keighran bagged his double with a step as he slammed the ball down. Despite missing the conversion, with just over half an hour left, the Roosters now found themselves with a 12-point lead. 

Although an error from dummy half handed over possession, the Red, White and Blue went downfield once again as a left-side overlap saw Keighran slice through the line and link up with Tedesco before crashing over into the posts for his first career hat-trick. Recovering from the collision, the goalkicker handed over duties to Siosiua Taukeiaho, who slotted the kick for a 30-12 scoreline. 

Easts continued to pick apart their opponents' errors as a short kick-off was cleverly diffused by Tupouniua before Morris and Ikuvalu pounced on loose passes. 

Hutchison Hands Marschke Maiden Try

While tryscoring chances were lost as fatigue crept in, eventually the Roosters were back on the board as Hutchison delivered Ben Marschke's maiden NRL try with a last-tackle offload as his teammates celebrated in full swing. 

Every touch seemed to turn to gold for the men from Bondi, as a looping pass from Sam Walker proved to be fruitful for Lachlan Lam in the dying stages for a four-pointer of his own.

While the Raiders scored a consolation try at the death, the Roosters ran proved too strong and ran out 40-16 victors. 


Sydney Roosters 40 (Adam Keighran 3, Matt Ikuvalu, Angus Crichton, Ben Marschke, Lachlan Lam tries; Adam Keighran 2, Siosiua Taukeiaho 2 goals; Adam Keighran 2 penalty goals) def Canberra Raiders 16 (Elliott Whitehead, Josh Papalii, Harley Smith-Shields tries; Jordan Rapana 2 goals) 


Stay tuned for more from including Match Highlights, Roosters TV Post-Match Interviews and Head Coach Trent Robinson's Press Conference!

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.