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Slick Roosters Shine Under Thursday Night Lights

A slick Sydney Roosters outfit stepped up under the Thursday Night Lights of Allianz Stadium to secure a 28-20 win over their Western Sydney rivals, the Parramatta Eels.

A double to Luke Keary, amazing defence by Drew Hutchison and another phenomenal performance by metre-eating Prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves guided the Red, White and Blue to their third consecutive home victory in front of 20,886 fans. 

The win sees the Tricolours claim the first leg of the 14th annual Jack Gibson Cup, with the final result to be decided in Round 25, when the Roosters face the Eels once more. 

The opening 10 minutes were full of action, with Parramatta's Will Penisini sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul, after a line-break from Lindsay Collins connected with James Tedesco and Luke Keary to bring the Roosters into dominant field position. But an error on the resuming play handed possession back to the visitors. 

The Tricolours got their second shot at the under-manned defensive line seconds later, attacking with a left side switch-play after Tedesco created a three-on-two overlap. The Roosters looked almost certain to score, with Egan Butcher grounding the ball to complete the play, only to have the Bunker overturn the on-field decision after it was deemed Keary interfered with Bailey Simonsson.

Parramatta were granted a penalty on the 10-minute mark, as Brandon Smith stripped the ball one-on-one, but the tackle was deemed complete. Mitchell Moses elected to take the penalty goal, giving his team a two point lead. 

A sideline-to-sideline play opened the Roosters account three minutes later, with 50-game milestone man Sam Walker sending a long ball to Jaxson Paulo, who linked up with Drew Hutchison to score off a slick play in the corner. Walker kicked the conversion to give the Red, White and Blue a four point lead. 

Drew Hutchison gets the Roosters on the Board

As the Boys from Bondi approached the try-line once again, Tedesco was hit high and late by Simonsson, resulting in the winger being sent for a stint in the sin-bin, while the Roosters captain underwent a head injury assessment, which he later failed. 

Fighting hard to keep the Eels behind the 50-metre line, the Bondi Wall thwarted at their Western Sydney rivals, showing no mercy. 

The defensive effort paid dividends for Robinson's men, who absorbed the pressure to pile on two late first-half tries. 

A well-used Captain's Challenge gave the Roosters an opportunity to attack once again in the 31st minute, with Nat Butcher demanding an error in the play-the-ball to be reviewed, which was deemed by the Bunker to be ruck interference from the Eels. 

Tupou delivered in the corner for the Eastern Suburbs off the back of the penalty, with the high-flying winger capitalising on an overlap created by 19-year-old Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii, who switched to fullback, replacing his absent skipper. 

The Roosters spine combined for another four-pointer in the 38th minute, with Smith receiving a quick play the ball to dart through the scattered line before sending Walker through a gap. Racing downfield, the 20-year-old halfback found his five-eighth in support, gifting Keary his first try of the season with a slick pass.

Looking to make amends for his first-half sin-binning, Penisini provided an inside ball to his captain, Clint Gutherson, to get Parramatta on the board for the opening try of the second half. Moses slotted the conversion to reduce the deficit to eight. 

The Eels challenged the ruling of a knock-on against Josh Hodgson, after they believed Victor Radley had made a play at the ball, but the on-field decision remained. 

The Tricolours were then granted five consecutive sets within 10-metres of their try-line, with Parramatta consistently infringing in the ruck and making two knock-ons as they attempted to steal possession. 

Under pressure, Suaalii delivered a brilliant flick-pass to winger Jaxson Paulo, who extended the Roosters lead to 12 points with a perfect put-down. 

Suaalii Delivers for Paulo

Another successful challenge by the Roosters gave Walker the chance to extend the lead to 14, with J'maine Hopgood deemed to have stripped the ball in a three-man tackle against Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. 

Tongan International winger Tupou stepped up once again in the 71st minute, breaking the tackle of Penisini to race almost 50 metres before offloading to Keary for his second try of the evening. Walker made no mistake with the conversion from in-front, extending the Roosters' lead to 20. 

Keary Goes Again

The Eels crossed the stripe twice in the final five minutes, through their wingers Simonsson and Maika Sivo, who made use of the tiring Roosters defence to plough over in opposite corners. But with the clock against them, their efforts weren't enough to steal the win from the Roosters.  

Sydney Roosters 28 (Drew Hutchison, Daniel Tupou, Jaxson Paulo, Luke Keary 2 Tries; Sam Walker 4 Goals) def Parramatta Eels 20 (Clint Gutherson, Bailey Simonsson, Maika Sivo tries; Mitchell Moses 4 Goals) 

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.