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Senior's Report: Wingers Shine in Dominant Weekend

Sydney Roosters were victorious in both matches played against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday afternoon at Wentworth Park. 

In the Jersey Flegg Cup game, Jordan Swann secured four tries from the wing to steer his side to a 30-20 win over their arch-rivals. While the NSW Cup team recorded their first victory since re-entering the competition this year, with Allan Fitzgibbon scoring five tries. 

Written By Ellery Behan


In their first reserve-grade game at Wentworth Park since 2005, the Sydney Roosters recorded a thrilling 38-16 victory over their inner-city rivals, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, on Sunday afternoon.

Winger Allan Fitzgibbon crossed the stripe five times, running for 187 metres and making five line-breaks, while Elie El-Zakham ran 182 metres and made 19 tackles, missing none, in the Tricolours first NSW Cup victory in 18 years.

Under some early defensive pressure from an error off their opening set, the Roosters defended their line tirelessly, eventually winning back possession. They managed to take the ball the length of the field, on the next set, drawing first blood with a spectacular try from Fitzgibbon who dived over in the corner.

With Souths on the attack, fast-footed front rower Brock Gray found his way through the defensive line, drawing in the fullback before finding Peter Mamouzelos who scored under the posts to tie the game up at six points apiece.

Bringing the ball deep out of their own half, two huge runs from Vuate Karawalevu and Elie El-Zakham put the Rabbitohs on the backfoot with the Roosters pressing their line. Receiving a scrum-feed after Souths knocked down a pass, Easts struck once again through Fitzgibbon to regain their six-point advantage.

An error off the kick-off handed field position back to South Sydney, who capitalised on the opportunity through Mamouzelos, running from dummy half to score his second try of the game, tying it up once more at 12-12.

After a Rabbitohs fifth-tackle kick went dead, the Red, White and Blue took them the length of the field with a seven-tackle set. They made good use of the extra play, with five-eighth Joseph Whitikama Temara Taipari playing a short ball to Tayson Fakaosi to score and regain the lead for the Tricolours in the 31st minute.

The Rabbitohs then kicked the restart out on the full, gifting the ball straight back to the Roosters. The Men from Bondi wasted no time, scoring after a few plays through Fitzgibbon who bagged a first half hat-trick.

Finding field position off a penalty in the ruck, the Tricolours had one last laugh as an inch-perfect chip kick from Sandon Smith was scooped up by Taipari to score, giving the Roosters a 28-12 lead at the break.

The opening 10 minutes of the second half saw a gritty brand of football being played by both sides, with plenty of errors, penalties and try-scoring opportunities gone begging as tensions rose.

The Rabbitohs broke the stalemate when they made use of a Roosters error just 25 metres out from their try line, spreading the ball wide to winger Cody Hodge who crossed in the corner to bring Souths back to within two converted tries.

Having been awarded a penalty deep in their own half, the Roosters found themselves pressing at their try-line late in the tackle count. A failed intercept from the Souths’ winger on an arching cut out ball fell at the feet of Fitzgibbon, who scooped up the ball and scored for his fourth and easiest try of the afternoon.

Fitzgibbon took advantage of another South Sydney error in the 76th minute, getting on the end of some fast hands through the backline on a scrum play and racing away for his fifth try of the match.

The game ended in a convincing win in favour of the Sydney Roosters, with a final score of 38-16 to see them into the bye round.

NSW Cup Round 3 Highlights

Jersey Flegg

Sydney Roosters hosted arch-rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs in a fiery battle that saw winger Jordan Swann claim four fries to secure the Tricolours 30-20 victory at Wentworth Park on Sunday afternoon.

In their third-straight win of the Jersey Flegg season, the Red, White and Blue held South Sydney from their try-line in the opening half, scoring four unanswered tries to give them a 20-0 lead at the break.

Forcing a South Sydney error off the kick-off, the Roosters had some early field position to work with. They made the most of it with a slick play through the backline, which featured fullback Owen Flaherty throwing a cut-out ball to Swann to score in the corner.

The next 10 minutes of the contest were an arm-wrestle, with plenty of heavy hits, penalties and errors through the middle of the park as the 31-degree heat began to take its toll.

The Roosters won the battle when they produced a similar try to their first, just 13 minutes later, with another looping cut-out pass to Swann who dived over to extend their lead to 10, with Hugo Savala adding the extras to make the difference 12.

On the first set after the kick-off, the Roosters received a penalty which brought them up to halfway. A few plays later they stormed down their right edge once again, sending Swann over the stripe for a hat-trick in the opening 20 minutes.

With the Rabbitohs attacking the Roosters’ try-line, an intercept from winger Isaac Guba turned the tides, putting the Tricolours back on the attack. Plotting a left-edge raid, a short-ball to back rower Phoenix Steinwede saw him crash over to score.

The sides headed into the sheds with Easts leading their inner-city rivals 20-0.

The Red, White and Blue were under plenty of pressure early in the second half, having to defend three straight sets with two on their line. After finally gaining possession, their fifth-tackle kick was charged down to give the Rabbitohs more field position with the ball, allowing Louis Grossemy to crash over through the middle for the red and green’s first try of the game.

Just minutes later, a penalty to the Roosters saw them start an attacking set just 35 metres out from Souths’ line. Late in the tackle count, Braith Alexander scooted out of dummy half, selling a dummy to cross the stripe and extend Easts’ lead back out to 20-points.

South Sydney struck back with a razzle-dazzle play which featured an offload through the middle of the park, before the ball found its way to winger Carson Kaho who spectacularly dived into the corner to score.

A line-break down the middle of the park for South Sydney ended with halfback Joseph Nohra being tackled without the ball, forcing the referee to send Roosters back rower Max McCathie to the sin-bin. The Rabbitohs were able to take advantage of the extra man, scoring and converting to bring the score back to 26-16 with 13 minutes left on the clock.

With the Roosters on the attack, a fifth-tackle chip towards the in-goal was put down by Rabbitohs fullback Terrell Kalo Kalo, gifting handy field position back to the Tricolours. They were able to capitalise, crashing over to score their sixth try of the game through Swann.

South Sydney responded once again with a late try, passing out the back to find second rower Thomas Fletcher who broke through the tackle of two defenders to score with four minutes left to play.

The Roosters came away with a 30-20 victory, starting their season off with three consecutive wins, before heading into a Round 4 bye.

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.