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Roosters Establish Unbreakable Bondi Wall to Down Warriors

The Sydney Roosters have prevailed in a fiercely-fought contest at Mt Smart Stadium, downing the New Zealand Warriors 14-0 to secure their first away win of the 2023 season. 

As the rain fell in Auckland, the Bondi Wall held strong with every Rooster stepping up defensively to keep the Warriors scoreless. While Sitili Tupouniua spurred the victory in just his second NRL game of the year, scoring one try and making 29 tackles in his 37-minute stint.

The Warriors were met with the Bondi Wall in their first set of the match, with powerhouse forwards Lindsay Collins and Matt Lodge rushing up in defence to force an error in the ruck. On the resuming play, Irish International Luke Keary poked a grubber through the line that forced the hosts to bat the ball over the dead-ball line. 

Shaun Johnson's drop-out failed to travel 10-metres, giving the Tricolours an opportunity to open their account with a penalty goal kicked by 19-year-old Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii in the fourth minute. 

A tremendous 40/20 kick by Keary helped the Roosters progress well into their attacking half in the eighth minute, but the opportunity was lost after the Warriors got hands to the ball two plays later to force an error. 

Luke Keary With A Smart Kick

The Roosters evaded trouble in the 13th minute after Corey Allan miraculously collected the ball in-goal before the Warriors jumped on top of him. On the restart the Warriors stormed towards the try-line, with Brandon Smith making a crucial try-saving tackle on Josh Curran before the hosts spilt the ball on the play that followed. 

Smith Clings to Curran

The Warriors held a mountain of possession in the 15 minutes that followed, with errors from the Tricolours allowing the hosts to stand their ground in their attacking half. 

Right as the Roosters looked destined to receive the ball after tirelessly defending their line, the Warriors challenged the on-field decision that would award the Red, White and Blue a 20-metre restart, claiming Joseph Manu's boot touched the ball before it trickled over the line. With access to numerous angles, the bunker ruled in favour of New Zealand, forcing the Roosters into another line drop-out and more defence. 

Centre Paul Momirovski interrupted the flow of play, dribbling the ball almost 50-metres across the turf soccer-style, before Curran gathered the grubber to re-claim possession for the Warriors. 

In the 33rd minute, New Zealand were penalised for not being square at marker, allowing the Roosters to piggyback into their attacking half with a kick for touch. On the ensuing set, captain James Tedesco broke the Warriors' defensive line before being taken down metres before the stripe.

Less than 30 seconds later, Victor Radley supplied back-rower Nat Butcher with a short ball off dummy-half to send him over the line for the opening try. Suaalii kicked the conversion from medium-range to extend the visitors' lead to eight with four minutes remaining in the first half. 

Nat Butcher Strikes for Roosters

The Roosters continued to bravely defend their line in the opening minutes of the second half with Radley and Egan Butcher stepping up to make a try-saving tackle on Jackson Ford, holding the back-rower up in-goal. 

Tedesco caught Warriors hooker Wayde Egan after he broke the Roosters' defensive line in the 53rd minute following a quick tap from a penalty, saving the Tricolours again. 

After consecutive knock-ons from New Zealand, the Roosters used the possession in their attacking half to set up another opportunity six minutes later. Scooping up the ball from dummy-half, Smith engaged the defence before putting boot to ball, planting a grubber into the in-goal that was pounced on by Sitili Tupouniua. Suaalii made no mistake with the conversion from in-front, giving his team a 14-point lead.

Sensational Smith Supplies Sitili

The Roosters lost their challenge after appealing a knock-on call against Joseph Manu in the 69th minute, with the match review offical ruling the five-eighth had planted the ball before it collided with the boot of a Warrior. 

As the conditions began to worsen, the Roosters held onto the ball, determined not give the Warriors a chance to enter the scoring as the match came to a close. 

Sydney Roosters 14 (Nat Butcher, Sitili Tupouniua tries, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 3 goals) def New Zealand Warriors 0

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.