The Sydney Roosters have been defeated in a scrappy contest against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, going down 16-12 at Accor Stadium.
The Roosters fought tooth and nail throughout the match, forced to come back from a 10-nil deficit for most of the first half, but were ultimately unable to nab the two competition points.
Match: Bulldogs v Roosters
Round 8 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
Adam Keighran made a strong first appearance for the Tricolours in 2022 - replacing Paul Momirovski who was a late scratching due to illness - while Joseph Suaalii scored his first try for the season in a mighty leaping effort.
Looking to reverse their result from last weekend, the Roosters were on the front foot early with the likes of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Sitili Tupouniua and Victor Radley leading the way through the middle of the park.
Errors began to cruel the Roosters in the early stages of the match, with the Bondi Wall tested on multiple occasions, while Tupouniua looked most likely to open eh side's account after pouncing onto a Sam Walker toe poke, only to be denied just centimetres from grounding the ball.
But just as they had come out of their own half through a penalty, the pressure continued as a Roosters penalty failed to go into touch before another handling error on the ground saw the Bulldogs pack a scrum ten metres from the line.
The Bondi Wall Muscles Up
Eventually, the mounting pressure took its toll as Josh Addo-Carr crashed over from dummy half to open the scoring fifteen minutes into the contest, giving the Bulldogs a 4-nil lead following the unsuccessful conversion.
Tedesco looked to inspire his troops, firstly by keeping his nerve by taking a towering spiral bomb from Burton before leading his side head-on into the defence, and soon another Walker grubber came off as a group tackle forced Okunbor into the in goal.
But just as the Roosters looked to strike back following a number of sets on the line, it was Addo-Carr picking off a wayward pass from the scrum and running 85 metres to double his side's lead.
Burton added the extras to give the Bulldogs a 10-nil lead after 22 minutes.
Looking to gain the ascendency, the Red, White and Blue continued to ask questions of the defence through the middle and on the edges, and Joseph Manu stood up when it counted to force an error from Burton as an overlap threatened to breach the Roosters' defence again.
Just as a cross-field kick seemed to have provided a line drop out for Trent Robinson's men, a touch on the ball gave the Bulldogs a seven tackle set - before the Tricolours combined as Angus Crichton sent Luke Keary away with a brilliantly-timed offload.
James Tedesco finished off the play just ten metres from the line in a strong surge - but the final pass failed to stick with the line wide open in another frustrating miss.
But it wouldn't be too long before the Roosters were over as Keary took charge; firstly by forcing an error on Matt Dufty before providing a kick for a soaring Joseph Suaalii to leap over Addo-Carr and score a memorable try.
Despite the unsuccessful conversion, the Roosters' deficit closed to just a single converted try as the sides headed to the sheds following a see-sawing first 40 minutes.
Suaalii Soars to Grab First Points
It was a frustrating start to the second stanza for both sides as their ball-playing prowess led to errors; firstly as a Bulldogs offload went to ground before a forward pass from the Tricolours handed back possession.
The arm wrestle continued as the two combatants fought for ascendency, with the Roosters' defence rallying to force the ball from Dufty, and soon enough it was Tedesco slicing through on the blindside to touch down and score.
With the missed conversion, the Roosters found themselves trailing by just two points with just over half an hour remaining in the contest.
Looking like a more settled outfit, the Red, White and Blue had no issues trundling downfield with plenty of conviction and flair, continuing their hunt for the lead - but the momentum swung 180 degrees as Burton put his boot to use with a 40/20 kick.
The move proved fruitful for the home side on the very next set as a looping pass provided Okunbor with a try in the corner, and following the sideline conversion, Canterbury-Bankstown took an eight-point lead after 55 minutes played.
Tedesco Slices Through
Things looked to go from bad to worse as the resulting kick-off went out on the full, giving the Bulldogs a penalty from halfway, but the Bondi Wall held strong with a try-saving effort from Keary on Tevita Pangai Jr followed by a leaping effort from Keighran to secure the ball.
Back on the attack, Radley and Tedesco combined once more to see the Roosters' Captain steam through the line, and while their expansive play threatened to add more points to the scoreboard, they were punished for their poor ball security.
Not to be deterred, Easts continued to apply pressure as the clock ticked into the final ten minutes and it was Tupouniua who got his try in the corner following a frantic play that went from sideline to sideline.
The match headed into the final five minutes in thrilling circumstances as just four points separated the sides following the unsuccessful sideline conversion.
Tupouniua Ensures Grandstand Finish
It looked likely that the comeback was on as the Tricolours bolted downfield in strong fashion, and the Josephs on the right combined as Manu sent Suaalii over in the corner for his second four-pointer of the match.
But in an already controversial contest, it was a matter of inches proving to be the difference as Suaalii's foot touched the sideline before grounding in a cruel finish to the contest.
In the shadows of fulltime and with the wind behind their backs, the Tricolours continued to threaten with ball in hand and refusing to die wondering - but in an appropriate ending to the match, an error on the line handed over possession, with the Bulldogs winning 16-12.
Sydney Roosters 12 (Joseph Suaalii, James Tedesco, Sitili Tupouniua tries) def by Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16 (Josh Addo-Carr 2, Jayden Okunbor tries; Matt Burton 2 goals)