The Roosters have bounced back from a disappointing Round 3 loss with a stunning 28-4 win over the Cowboys.
After threatening down the right edge a couple of times with no luck, the Roosters decided to try the other side of the field and came up trumps. Sam Walker put up a bomb, which Daniel Tupou batted back for Paul Momirovski to score.
The Roosters tried to play midway again through the first half but this time Kyle Feldt beat Tupou to the ball.
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The Cowboys – already on the backfoot – copped a blow when Tom Gilbert was sin-binned for a professional foul. Luke Keary threw a swift cutout pass to Kevin Naiqama who took off down the sideline and put in a grubber for Keary to potentially collect, but the Roosters halfback had been taken out.
Unsurprisingly, the Roosters capitalized off the Cowboys being one-man down, scoring two tries in five minutes.
Joseph Manu scored the first – but it was skipper James Tedesco who deserved the accolades after a brilliant bat on pass. Then Manu set up Victor Radley for the second.
Gilbert returned but even with 13 men on the field the Cowboys could not stop the Roosters as Keary, Manu and Naiqama combined to extend their lead.
It only took two-and-a-half minutes into the second half for the Roosters to score again as Manu crossed for his second of the night.
The Cowboys had a bit of deja vu when another forward was sin-binned – this time it was Griffin Neame after a late shot on Sam Walker.
They showed some signs of life in the final 15 minutes when Murray Taulagi crossed after a brilliant pass in the lead-up form of Tom Dearden.
But then the sin-bin curse struck again with Chad Townsend being sent with nine minutes left on the clock after a lazy arm collected Lindsay Collins high.
And less than a minute later Tupou crossed for the Roosters’ sixth try of the night.
TEDDY RESPONDS AS ROOSTERS ” BRILLIANT ‘BIG GUNS STEP UP
James Tedesco was the first to admit he had an off game last week against the Rabbitohs, so it should come as no surprise that the man dubbed by many as the best player in the world bounced back in spectacular fashion.
The Roosters skipper looked dangerous every time he had the ball and had come up with a brilliant moment when he batted on a pass – basically without looking – onto Joseph Manu.
“Not your conventional tap-on, it was with two hands,” Fox League commentator Andrew Voss said.
Expert analyst Greg Alexander added: “Well that was better than your regular tap-on pass because he actually caught the ball above his head and then offloaded it. That is such a tough pass to throw. That’s very good from James Tedesco. “
Tedesco’s first half numbers alone were impressive. The 29-year-old notched up 110 running meters, five tackle busts, a try assist and a linebreak assist.
By full time those numbers reached 182 running meters, seven tackle busts, one linebreak, two linebreak assists and two try assists.
And while Tedesco was a standout, Luke Keary also caught the eye of sideline commentator Brent Tate.
“Luke Keary has been outstanding tonight, just pulling all the strings, and his connection with Tedesco at the back – he’s been brought back to his best,” he said.
But the brilliance didn’t just stop at Keary and Tedesco. In fact all of the Roosters’ big-name players improved dramatically on last week.
Victor Radley scored and was equally important on the other side of the ball, coming up with a crunching tackle on Cowboys superstar Jason Taumalolo.
Meanwhile, Joey Manu ran circles around the Cowboys. The Kiwi international scored a double and set up two more tries – one of those with a stunning flick pass.
“All of the Roosters’ stars have stepped up… Manu, Keary and Tedesco have been brilliant.”
COWBOYS DEALT REALITY CHECK
From a 15th-place finish last season to winning two of their first three games, the Cowboys were proving to be the surprise packet of the competition.
But they were brutally brought back down to earth by a classy Roosters outfit.
The star-studded Tricolors were dominant from the very beginning and not even the Cowboys’ danger men could break them.
Jeremiah Nanai announced himself last week with a hat-trick against the Broncos but it looked like if the Roosters had done their homework on the teenage gun.
Valentine Holmes turned back the clock last week to show some of his career-best form and was busy again against the Roosters. But even his 143-meter, four tackle busts and one linebreak paled in comparison to what several Roosters stars delivered.
The Roosters piled on tries in the first half, but it was Manu’s four-pointer in the first two minutes of the second half that Greg Alexander believes the Cowboys were really “exposed.”
“It’s certainly a rise in class (from the Roosters) where the Cowboys have now been exposed,” he said.
But it’s not the time to panic.
While the Cowboys were humbled, Alexander stressed there’s still good signs.
“I think they’ve just been outclassed. It’s not doom and gloom for Cowboys, I don’t think they’ve done too much wrong, ”he said.
“I think what we’ve seen from the Cowboys over the last two weeks shows that they have plenty of promise.”
Tate agreed that the scoreline was more so a reflection of how good the Roosters were.
“They’re a young group and they’ve come up against a different kettle of fish in the Roosters tonight who are real premiership favorites when they play like this,” he said.
HAMMER’S BIG LESSON AS NIGHT TURNS SOUR
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow learns a big lesson about what it takes to be an elite fullback after coming up against one of the best in the game.
While Tedesco made it a personal mission to bounce back from an out of character performance, Tabuai-Fidow failed to have any impact on the game.
It was a huge difference to last time ‘The Hammer’ faced the Roosters. In Round 18 last season he set the NRL world alight with 253 running meters, two linebreaks and eight tackle busts.
On Saturday ran for just 36 meters and had one tackle bust.
It was a night to forget for the young talent who ended up leaving the field 23 minutes early with a PCL injury.
He’s now set for an extended stint on the sideline, but when he does return Alexander believes he could take a leaf out of Tedesco’s book.
“He can’t wait for the game to come to him. I know he’s young and hasn’t played a lot of fullback but he’s got to get himself involved, he’s got to impose himself on the game, “he said.
“You can’t blame anyone around you. Tedesco doesn’t wait for anyone to give him the ball. ”
Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 13. Jason Taumalolo 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 16. Reuben Cotter 14. Jake Granville 15. Heilum Luki 17. Griffin Neame 18. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown Replacement player: 19. Scott Drinkwater
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 22. Kevin Naiqama 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 17. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 14. Drew Hutchison 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Nat Butcher 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Connor Watson 15. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 16. Angus Crichton Replacement player: 20. Lachlan Lam
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