The Sydney Roosters put in a brave effort but were unable to claim the two competition points against the Melbourne Storm at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Captain James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou and Lindsay Collins all backed up in the Red, White and Blue following the 2022 State of Origin opener on Wednesday night, with the trio putting in strong performances back in Club colours.
Match: Roosters v Storm
Round 14 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Without both halves for a vast majority of the contest, the Roosters were unable to convert their opportunities in a tenacious effort against the second-placed Storm.
Paul Momirovski made his 50th NRL appearance, while winger Joseph Suaalii had a standout performance that saw him score a try and deny a number of raids from the Storm.
There were no signs of storm clouds in sight with clear skies at the Sydney Cricket Ground on a picturesque afternoon perfect for Rugby League.
It was a frantic start for both sides with the Storm giving away a penalty on the very first tackle of the game before they burst through the defence on their opening set, with the Chookpen faithful breathing a sigh of relief as the ball bounced into touch.
With both sides looking to gain early ascendency after false starts, it was the Roosters who opened the scoring as Sam Walker snuck through the defence before Joesph Manu sent his namesake Joseph Suaalii in for his eighth try of 2022.
Suaalii Finishes Off Quick Move
Walker's conversion gave the Roosters a handy 6-nil lead after seven minutes.
The Red, White and Blue continued to trouble the Storm's defence with free running and well-timed offloads, but after a near-miss with Manu losing possession over the line, the Storm were quick to strike back levelling the scores after seventeen minutes.
Melbourne were nearly in again as they broke the line on the following set, only for an incredible last-ditch effort from Suaalii and James Tedesco saw Jahrome Hughes held up and denied a certain try.
The youngster pulled off a bone-rattling hit on the following play, denying their opponents any further points in a brilliant stint, and soon enough a trademark kick behind the line saw Walker regather to score a skilful individual try for a 12-6 lead.
Suaalii's Superhuman Effort Stops Storm
After a strong opening half-hour with the ball in hand, errors crept into the home side's camp, and the visitors ensured that they would take advantage, touching down in the corner through Marion Seve.
With the Roosters' lead now down to two points with ten remaining in the half, they were handed a further blow with Luke Keary taken from the field after his head came into contact with his teammates' knee.
Walker Kicks, Regathers and Scores
Looking to extend once more, the men from Bondi continued to stamp their claim for more points but were unable to do so heading into the break, with both Suaalii and Manu denied by the Bunker in two close calls, going ahead 12-10 at halftime.
It was far from an ideal restart for the Tricolours with the kick-off going out on the full, and while Sitili Tupouniua pulled off a crunching hit, a dabbling kick forced a line drop out - and before long Seve was in for his second to give his side the lead.
A heavy hit saw Walker taken from the field with HIA protocols, but the Roosters weren't without creative touch as Manu produced a grubber kick from dummy half, with Tupouniua touching down.
The Hits Keep on Coming For Suaalii
Paul Momirovski stepped up to the plate for the conversion, giving the home side an 18-16 lead with half an hour remaining in the contest.
Charging through the middle of the field, Angus Crichton burst through the line to the excitement of the SCG crowd - and while Suaalii came oh so close to scoring again, his efforts earned his side another set as the Storm were forced behind their line.
The tenacity in both attack and defence from Easts continued to trouble the Storm, but a head-high tackle on incoming Rooster Brandon Smith eventually saw Grant Anderson claim his double - giving them a two-point lead with fifteen minutes left.
Tupouniua Touches Down
Uncharacteristic penalties on the following set saw the Bondi Wall needing to defend their line once more, and while an unsuccessful challenge for a knock-on at dummy half saw the Storm back in possession, the Roosters continued to hold on with Walker returning to the field.
The young five-eighth nearly put Tupouniua over for his second with a clever chip, but after the towering second rower lost grasp of possession, the Storm sealed the result with Felise Kaufusi diving over next to the posts.
The Sydney Roosters will take on the Parramatta Eels at Commbank Stadium next Saturday night in their Round 15 contest.
Sydney Roosters 18 (Joseph Suaalii, Sam Walker, Sitili Tupouniua tries; Sam Walker 2, Paul Momirovski goals) def by Melbourne Storm 26 (Marion Seve 2, Grant Anderson 2, Felise Kaufusi tries; Nick Meaney 4 goals)