Sydney Roosters eased to a superb victory against Penrith Panthers – a side that were top of the table before this weekend’s matches.
Sydney set the tone for the game in the early stages and were by far the better side in the first-half, scoring three tries to Penrith’s one. Blake Ferguson crossed for the Roosters in the sixth minute after a great run by Victor Radley, then just three minutes later Isaac Liu touched down following an impressive training ground move.
Sydney’s early onslaught was complete on 15 minutes when Zane Tetevano dotted down following a flick pass by Latrell Mitchell and brilliant work from Luke Keary. Mitchell converted all three to send the Roosters almost out of sight at 18-0.
The Panthers finally clawed their way back into the match on 18 minutes as Dean Whare charged onto an inside pass from James Maloney, with the latter converting. Both sides now settled into the game with a Mitchell penalty goal two minutes before the break the only points added after a frenetic opening 20 minutes.
Dylan Napa for the Roosters and Reagan Campbell-Gillard for Penrith had already trudged off the field in the first-half – which would have worried Origin selectors – but Latrell Mitchell’s departure in the 50th minute on a stretcher after seemingly damaging his neck would have worried all NRL and NSW spectators.
The absence of Mitchell did not deter the Roosters however, and they scored four minutes after the 20-year-old’s premature exit from the field. A sweeping move resulted in another Blake Ferguson try – his tenth of the season – after excellent work by Joseph Manu. Ferguson took over the kicking duties from the injured Mitchell and added the extras from the touchline to make it 26-6.
Tyrone Peachey was sin-binned just after the hour mark for foul play after the Panthers had been warned several times and Sydney took advantage to stretch their lead further. A Daniel Tupou try and another Ferguson conversion nine minutes from the end were the last points of the game as Sydney pulled off one of the surprises of the season with a 32-6 hammering.
Roosters: Tedesco, Tupou, Mitchell, Manu, Ferguson, Keary, Cronk, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend (c), Napa, Cordner, Aubusson, Liu; Interchanges: Butcher, Tetevano, Baptiste, Radley
Tries: Ferguson 2 Liu, Tetevano, Tupou; Goals: Mitchell 4, Ferguson 2
Panthers: Watene-Zelezniak, Crichton, Peachey, Whare, Phillips, Maloney (c), Cleary, Merrin, Katoa, Campbell-Gillard, Harawira-Naera, Yeo, Fisher-Harris; Interchanges: Egan, Ellis, Hetherington, Tamou
Tries: Whare; Goals: Maloney
Sin-bin: Peachey (62) – foul play
Full match report of this game and the NRL scoreboard will be available in Monday’s League Express.