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Roosters crowing - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sun, 16 Mar 2008 08:03:00 GMT
After a week of verbal wrestling, the scene was set for an explosive match but it was the roosters who snatched the boasting rights in the end.

Off-season star recruit Craig Wing dislocated his shoulder in the early part of the first half, ruling the halfback out for the rest of the game.

In his absence the Roosters ran riot.

Former Bulldogs Willie Mason, Mark O’Meley and Nate Myles led the line well for the Bondi based side, with the Roosters cruising to a 24-4 half time lead.

The medicine was repeated in the second stanza, and despite a dramatic second half flurry from South Sydney, the Roosters were far too good for their cross-town neighbours.

Tri-colours coach Brad Fittler said he was happy with his side’s performance although South’s second half performance meant there was work to be done.

“Given the start we had last year and the way we finished, we built momentum, so just actually getting out and winning was really sweet,” Fittler said on nrl.com.

“It was a bit of a blessing in disguise, the last 20 minutes, keeps us from inflating and keeps us on the job.”

South Sydney fans were all eager to see their teams new look halves combination, with Jeremy Smith and Craig Wing running the engine room.

That idea was shattered within 8 minutes as Craig Wing was assisted off, and the Roosters showed no mercy.

The tri-colours were ahead almost immediately as a high bomb close to the Rabbits line was caught by centre Amos Roberts who offloaded for Sa to score.

New Prop Nate Myles had the score at 12-0 within minutes as the forward pumped and charged his way to the line.

However, Souths showed some resilience and hit back through Nathan Merritt, when a cut out ball from Jeremy Smith found the little winger in space and over the line.

But order was restored half way through the first half. Pre-season training showed its true benefits as Fittler’s masterminded set moves came to fruition.

Firstly, Anthony Topou grabbed a try when he received a short ball with the Rabbitohs defenders failing to track his run.

Topou grabbed his second when the Roosters dramatically changed the point of attack and created an overlap on the left for the back rower to exploit, leaving the Rabbitohs to contemplate a 24-4 half time deficit.

Brad Fittler’s half time pep talk must have did the world of good as on the restart the Rabbitohs still struggled to match their more illustrious neighbours.

And it wasn’t long before the Roosters extended their lead.

Another cleverly practiced set move made it 28-4 when Nigel Vagana was suckered in by the dummy runner with Braith Anasta’s pass finding Shaun Kenny-Dowall in acres of space.

And the scri pt just continued to get sour for Souths as they found themselves further behind just 51 minutes in.

A towering Braith Anasta bomb completely confused three Rabbitohs defenders as they stood and watched as Setaimata Sa went up and unchallenged to extend the lead to 34-4.

The game then changed immediately. Whether it was the Roosters felt the game was over, or the players get paid by the hour, the South Sydney outfit gained the ascendency.

Turning to the likes of hooker Issac Luke and fullback Fetuli Talanoa, the Rabbitohs had massive speed out of dummy half and had the tri-colours in trouble.

It wasn’t long before the Green and Reds got one back. Anthony Minichello and Amos Roberts made a meal out of a harmless grubber into the in-goal area, with the latter attempting to kick the ball into touch only to watch Yileen Gordan score a try.

On 65 minutes Luke once again caused the Roosters grief, side stepping his way into a massive hole before attracting two defenders and offloading to Nathan Merritt to score.

And to put shivers down the spine of Roosters coach Brad Fittler, the Rabbitohs reduced the score line to within 14 points with ten minutes to play when Germaine Paulson found the line. Luke’s fancy footwork once again opened up gap, condensing the defence and allowing a long cut out pass to find Paulson in space.

However, despite a gladiator like effort to reduce the score line, it was not enough for the Russell Crowe owned side leaving them to lament what might have been.

Both sides have sterner tests next week, with South Sydney up against the Bulldogs and the Roosters at home to the Brisbane Broncos.

roosters 34 (S Sa 2, A Tupou, N Myles, S Kenny-Dowall tries; C Fitzgibbon 5 goals) d South Sydney 20 (N Merritt 2, Y Gordon, G Paulson tries; I Luke 2 goals) at Stadium Australia. Referee: Tony Archer. Crowd: 29,386 Penalties: Souths 7-3 Line Breaks: Roosters 6-5 Completed Sets: Souths 23/37, Roosters 22/35. - Read More, Here