The Roosters have bagged four straight wins for the first time this season after defeating the Broncos 34-16 at the SCG on Thursday night.
Three Roosters tries in the first 15 minutes had the Broncos reeling with Paul Momirovski, Nat Butcher and Angus Crichton all getting over.
The Broncos finally got on the board through veteran winger Corey Oates, but went into the half time break down 18-4.
It was deja vu as the Roosters started fast in the second half with Butcher getting his second of the night just three minutes in, but once again Oates hit back to keep his side in the hunt.
However, a solo try to Luke Keary and a late one to Joseph Suaalii put the icing on the cake.
MATCH CENTRE: Roosters vs Broncos live score, video, stats
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ROOSTERS BIG GUNS ‘SEND SHIVERS DOWN THE SPINE’ OF RIVALS
They may be just clinging onto the top eight, but the Roosters showed they can still make a real fist of this competition when their big guns are on.
James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Victor Radley shone both individually and as a combination in Thursday’s important win with their lead-up work to a 76th minute Joseph Suaalii try likely sending “shivers down the spine of a number of the top teams,” according to Fox League analyst Michael Ennis.
The trio combined perfectly to send Suaalii over for a late try and also prove they have the attacking prowess to still be in the competition come September.
“They might be sitting down the bottom half of the top eight but that sends shivers down the spine of a number of the top teams,” Ennis said.
“That combination of Radley, Keary and Tedesco, the way they’re able to move the ball, how direct Radley plays and holds up the ruck defenders, the tempo and class of Keary and Tedesco — two champions of the game.”
Radley ran for 108 metres and made 23 tackles with just one miss while also coming up with some crucial balls. Meanwhile, Keary had arguably his best game since returning from a concussion, scoring a try, setting up two more and getting four tackle busts, a linebreak and two linebreak assists.
But as usual, Tedesco reigned supreme with two try assists, two linebreak assists, 215 running metres and 12 tackle busts.
“There’s a lot of fullbacks in the competition that we would marvel at if they did what James Tedesco did tonight, but we just come to expect it every week,” Ennis said.
“It’s just a night at the office for James, but he’s a champion of the game. He’s in great form post-Origin, he was great through the Origin and he’s been electric again tonight.”
BRONCOS’ LEAKY DEFENCE LEAVES TOP FOUR HOPES ‘VULNERABLE’
Matty Johns said it’s “not panic stations” for the Broncos after back-to-back losses but former Bronco Gorden Tallis and expert analyst Michael Ennis couldn’t ignore the leaked 30-plus points in the last two weeks.
The Broncos let in three tries in the first 15 minutes in real danger signs of what was to come. The clawed their way back into the game through a Corey Oates double and a Kurt Capewell try but let in a total of six tries.
Fox League commentator Warren Smith said they had “turned back the clock to the bad old days defensively” in reference to lean seasons in 2020 and 2021, while also saying their “ability to defend repeat sets is non-existent.”
Tallis put the blowtorch on the Broncos’ defence and highlighted how much the Broncos missed star forward Patrick Carrigan, who copped a four-game ban earlier in the week for a hip-drop tackle.
“They’ve been really poor in defence,” Tallis told The Late Show with Matty Johns.
“I think in the last month Brisbane have leaked so many tries, last week 30 points against the Tigers and the same tonight so they did miss (Patrick Carrigan) around the ruck, cleaning up and he’s so good at playing the ball quick, he’s got a good little offload (too).”
Meanwhile, Ennis fears that losses to the Roosters and Tigers will put the Broncos’ top four hopes under threat.
“After that dominant performance Brisbane had against Parramatta a fortnight ago they were establishing themselves in the top four, but some back-to-back losses now has really left themselves vulnerable of pressing for that (top four finish)… Particularly their confidence, 30 points again tonight defensively,” he said.
Alarmingly, Adam Reynolds missed nine tackles and his halves partner Ezra Mam missed seven. Kurt Capewell missed sevev and both Jordan Riki and Billy Walters missed five tackles each.
UNDER PRESSURE ROOSTER’S BIG STAGGS REVENGE
Paul Momirovski has had a fair few moments he’d like to forget this season, particularly in defence. But the Roosters centre delivered his most solid performance in the ultimate redemption story after being carved up by the Broncos in Round 5.
Momirovski was put on show by Kotoni Staggs in Round 5 – missing a staggering 11 tackles. But he turned up to the SCG determined not to let the Broncos star overpower him again.
The 26-year-old, who was dropped earlier this season, finished the game with 20 tackles and just one miss compared to Staggs’ 15 tackles and four misses. He also scored the opening try, got a linebreak, two tackle busts and 62 running metres.
Momirovski’s sharp defence was on show when he came up with a good read on Tesi Niu and then on the next tackle put enough pressure on Adam Reynolds that he was forced to get a kick away while his teammates were in front of him, resulting in a penalty.
“It was an area of concern for Trent Robinson, we saw Momirovski go back to reserve grade earlier in the year, he really struggled defensively and in particular in that Round 5 game up against Kotoni Staggs and tonight he’s been extremely focused,” Ennis said of his defence.
Momirovski didn’t switch off until the final siren and in the final four minutes out-lept Staggs to catch an Adam Reynolds cross-field kick.
“He’s really starting to find some confidence,” Ennis said.
“(He was a) premiership winner last year for the Panthers and has really struggled to find his best at times, but tonight he’s been outstanding, defensively marking Kotoni Staggs – he’s doing a wonderful job.
“Under pressure it was a very, very important take and a good one.”
Sideline commentator James Hooper added: “He’s done a commendable job tonight, last time he faced Kotoni Staggs it was a real carve-up.”
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Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Ben Thomas 16. Drew Hutchison 17. Terrell May. Replacement player: 19. Fletcher Baker
Broncos: 1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Deine Mariner 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 14. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington 9. Billy Walters 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Corey Jensen 17. Keenan Palasia. Replacement player: 18. Te Maire Martin
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