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Roosters Fall Short in Bruising Battle with Penrith

The Sydney Roosters have fallen to a 30-6 loss in a fiery, bruising battle against the Penrith Panthers in front of 23,610 fans at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Wingers Daniel Tupou and Junior Pauga were dominant in attack, both recording over 50 post-contact metres, while James Tedesco also rose to the occasion, scoring the Tricolours only try. 

But their efforts weren't enough to overcome the defending premiers, who remained composed in both attack and defence despite the absence of their captain Nathan Cleary. 

A Moses Loeta linebreak carried the Panthers into good field position in the opening minutes, with a Scott Sorensen offload affording Isaah Yeo an opportunity to claim first points. Originally awarded a try, referee Adam Gee sent the play to the Bunker for review, where the decision was overturned as video demonstrated the Skipper promoted the ball after it hit the turf. 

An error from the Roosters on the resuming set gave the visitors another opportunity within striking distance, but stand-in centre Drew Hutchison leapt to gather a high ball under pressure, getting the Tricolours out of trouble. 

Claiming 91% of possession in first 10 minutes, the Panthers broke the Bondi Wall after five repeat sets within 20 metres of the tryline after Jarome Luai sent a cut-out ball to Stephen Crichton who stretched out his arm to put the ball on the stripe. The centre couldn't convert his own try though, leaving the visitors with a four point advantage. 

After Luai was penalised for being offside, the Roosters plotted a comeback through James Tedesco. A grubber towards the in-goal was gathered by Dylan Edwards, but heroic defence from the Skipper struck down his opposing number 1, forcing a drop-out. 

Tedesco Takes Down Edwards

But the hosts failed to come up with points after a loose carry returned possession to the Panthers. 

Returning to the team after a five week stint on the sideline, Daniel Tupou's presence played an important role in shutting down another attacking raid. After Edwards chipped the ball towards Brian To'o, the Tongan high-flyer shoved the Penrith winger into touch. 

Scrappy fifth-tackle play from the Tricolours created an opportunity out of nowhere as Joseph Manu unlocked a right edge overlap, passing to Allan who delivered a quick ball to Junior Pauga. Racing towards the tryline, the 27-year-old winger put boot to ball in an attempt to find Tedesco, but the kick missed the mark. 

The Men from Bondi maintained a strong defensive line to force a Spencer Leniu error in the 32nd minute. Building momentum in attack, the Roosters struggled to find points after a set restart carried them into good field position. 

Three minutes later, the Panthers found their second try of the half with Liam Martin exploding through the defence before connecting with Edwards who finished the effort, diving over the line. Crichton converted the try to give the Panthers a 10-point lead. 

A late run of possession close to the tryline couldn't be converted into points for the Roosters as the opening half came to a close. 

Penrith Skipper Yeo burrowed his way over the stripe to claim the first four-pointer of the second stanza, with Crichton's conversion carrying the visitors to a 16-point advantage. 

Tedesco shut down Scott Sorensen with a one-on-one tackle after the back rower split the Tricolours' defensive line three minutes later. But an offside call gave the mountain men another chance and they used the opportunity to send the ball right, capitalising off a three-on-one overlap, with To'o crossing untouched in the corner. Crichton extended the visitors lead to 22 unanswered points with a conversion from the sideline. 

A Sunia Turuva linebreak resulted in more points for the Panthers after the winger offloaded to Izack Tago, who flew past the scattered Roosters defence to ground the ball. Crichton added the extras from close range, taking Penrith to a 28-point lead. 

Tedesco took matters into his own hands eight minutes later, running a left edge play to brush through the Panthers defence and ground the ball on the line. Keary converted the try, reducing the deficit to 22 points. 

Tedesco Breaks Through

Two barnstorming runs by Waerea-Hargreaves sent Liam Martin and Moses Leota for head injury assessments, igniting a personal battle between the forward packs. 

Fireworks erupted between Leniu and Waerea-Hargreaves seven minutes before full-time, with both enforcers sent to the sin-bin for the remainder of the game for their role in the scuffle. 

Crichton took the opportunity to extend the visitors' lead to 24-points with a penalty goal, cementing the win for the Panthers. 

Sydney Roosters 6 (James Tedesco try, Luke Keary goal) def by Penrith Panthers 30 (Stephen Crichton, Dylan Edwards, Isaah Yeo, Brian To'o, Izack Tago tries, Stephen Crichton 5 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.