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Tupou Turns Back the Clock as Roosters Retain Gotcha4Life Cup

The Sydney Roosters have retained the Gotcha4Life Cup after defeating the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 26-16 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday evening. 

Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Club's 13th Premiership, Daniel Tupou turned back the clock, crossing for a first-half double while Joseph Manu and James Tedesco were also elusive in attack, generating a number of game-defining plays.

The Roosters looked to kick-start the contest in the early minutes when James Tedesco set up Daniel Tupou in the corner, but the Manly defence rushed in to push the veteran winger into touch as he reached out to score. 

On the resuming set, Manly carried the ball the length of the field before a kick from Jason Saab trapped Tedesco in-goal. Opting for a short drop-out, Tupou leapt high into the air to bat the ball back into play, but his foot was on the line and the Sea Eagles received a penalty. 

Reuben Garrick slotted the penalty goal from in-front to give the visitors an early advantage. 

In the 12th minute, Billy Smith gathered a kick from Keary and crawled his way towards the line, only to be held up by Lachlan Croker and Saab.

The Sea Eagles challenged a knock-on call against Garrick a minute later and the Bunker overturned the on-field decision, determining Victor Radley stripped the ball from the fullback's grasp. 

A thrilling try-saving tackle from Tedesco was followed by three set restarts, allowing Manly to maintain dominant field position - but the Bondi Wall stood tall, defending tirelessly on their line until Saab spilt the ball.  

Absorbing significant pressure, the Roosters returned serve to put the Sea Eagles under the pump with a chip kick from Keary setting up Tupou one-on-one against Saab. 

Tupou doing what he does best

The Tongan representative plucked the ball out of the air and made no mistake on the put-down, almost replicating his try from the 2013 Grand Final. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii kicked the conversion from touch to make the score 6-2. 

Manly conceded a number of penalties following infringements by Toafofoa Sipley and Daly Cherry-Evans, allowing the Roosters to set up camp in their attacking half. 

A barnstorming run by young Siua Wong in his first start saw him fend off Brad Parker to leave a gap in the Manly defence in the set that followed. Scooping up the ball from dummy half, Joseph Manu danced his way through the line and all the way to the stripe to find more points before Suaalii added the extras to make the margin 10. 

Manu muscles his way over

A successful short restart from Manly almost paid dividends when Croker crossed from dummy half, but the try was sent to the Bunker for review, where footage determined he lost the ball in the process of grounding. 

Haumole Olakau'atu was penalised for crowding in the ruck three minutes before half time and the Roosters used the opportunity to add more points through another Keary play, this time for Billy Smith who combined with Tupou to give him another four-pointer in the corner. Suaalii extended the lead to 16 points with a conversion from touch on the siren. 

Tupou goes for two

A brilliant play from Suaalii 11 minutes into the second half resulted in more points for the Tricolours after the 20-year-old kicked the ball and gathered it in after Manly coughed it up out the back. 

Sending the ball from right to left, Billy Smith brushed off the grasp of Tolutau Koula to dive over on the edge, but Suaalii was unable to convert, leaving the score at 22-2. 

Billy breezes through

Tedesco continued to lead by example with stellar efforts in defence, muscling up on his opposing fullback in the 56th minute to shut him down as he stormed towards the try-line. 

Drew Hutchison nailed a beautiful 40-20 kick to put Manly under more pressure, before Sandon Smith linked up with Siua Wong to seemingly send him over for his second SCG try, but the play was reviewed for double movement and eventually denied.  

The Roosters lost Nathan Brown in the 62nd minute after the forward tackled Ben Trbojevic high in what was deemed as intentionally forceful contact. 

Josh Schuster scored Manly's first try a minute later, chasing down his own kick to plant the ball in-goal before Garrick converted the try to make the score 22-8.

Easts made the Sea Eagles pay for a knock on three minutes later, with a sublime scrum play allowing Suaalii to cross almost uncontested in the corner, but the Samoan International failed to convert his own try from the sideline. 

With a one-man advantage the visitors piled on consecutive tries through Brad Parker and Koula in the dying minutes, but ultimately the effort wasn't enough to steal the win. 

Sydney Roosters 26 (Daniel Tupou 2, Joseph Manu, Billy Smith, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii tries, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 3 goals) def Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 16.

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.