The Sydney Roosters have defeated the Canberra Raiders 18 – 6 at GIO Stadium in the battle for a top-four position leading into the finals.
The grand final rematch was a huge clash between the heavyweights, with massive defensive sets form each team on their line and a few massive one-on-one try-saving tackles.
James Tedesco opened the scoring off the back of a Raiders error after six minutes of play. Kyle Flannagan successfully converted to put the Roosters up 6 – 0.
John Bateman chipped into the in-goal to set up his own try and get the Raiders on the board after 10 minutes. Jarrod Croker levelled the score at 6 – 6.
George William’s kicking game was troubling the Roosters in the first half, forcing three goal-line drop-outs, with Tedesco unable to return to the field of play.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was impressive under the Roosters bombs with chasers always putting on the pressure. The Raiders fullback surrendered while in the field of play and was dragged back into the in-goal, earning his team a penalty which helped them down the field.
Semi Valemei had a huge fourth appearance in the NRL against Brett Morris, making a line break down the side and making a try-saving tackle on the experienced Roosters winger.
Daniel Tupou was next to score off a high kick from Flannagan across the field that saw him leap in the air and plant it in the corner. Flannagan’s kick was waved away with the scores locked in at 6 – 10 to the Rosters.
A massive set from the Raiders forced another goal line drop out with Semi Valemei keeping Brett Morris in the in goal.
As the Raiders threatened the line again, Croker was taken into touch with a second effort, earning his team another opportunity.
The Roosters went down the left again but a knock-on and an unsuccessful captains challenge from Josh Morris saw the Raiders regain possession.
A kick from Williams was too hard for Tupou to handle which gave the Raiders another chance deep in the Roosters half with less than three to go.
Ryan Sutton and Josh Papalii had a huge first half with 130 and 115 running metres respectively, more than anyone else on the field in the first 40.
A crusher tackle from Luke Keary on Nicoll-Klokstad on the line earned the Raiders another set but the Roosters defence held tight with the scores locked in at 6 – 10 to the Roosters going into half time.
Early in the second half the Rosters worked it down the field and a kick to Tupou hit the mark but the Raiders read it perfectly and stopped him in his tracks.
The Roosters earned themselves a penalty and Flannagan kicked for goal from 42 metres out, putting his side up 12 – 6 as Sonny Bill William’s started to warm up on the sideline.
Nicoll-Klokstad was forced to ground the ball in the Roosters in goal as the visitors went on the attack again, but the Raiders defence held up.
Sonny Bill William’s made his first appearance with 22 minutes to go and had his first touch straight away, but the Roosters quickly turned it over and the Raiders went on the attack.
Tedesco kicked for himself to score his second in what was a massive game for the Roosters fullback with 17 runs, 174 metres and 12 tackle breaks after 60 minutes. Flannagan’s conversion was successful for a score of 18 – 6.
Nicoll-Klokstad forced the ball dead as the Roosters went on the attack again. They worked it down the park with a field goal attempt from Keary that bounced back off the posts as the Raiders cleaned it up with 10 to go.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves gave away a penalty with less than seven minutes on the clock and Tupou tried to keep Wighton’s kick infield as it went in to touch. The Raiders went on the attack again but couldn’t come up with points as the Roosters defence held strong.
Williams forced another goal line drop out with three to go on the clock but the Raiders couldn’t break the Roosters defence again, with a final score of 6 – 18 to the Roosters.
Papalii went down with a shoulder injury after 20 minutes of play, but the veteran played out his first stint before retiring to the sideline for the remainder of the game and potentially games to come.