SYDNEY ROOSTERS 50 (R Tuivasa-Sheck 3 B Cordner M Jennings D Mortimer D Tupou J Waerea-Hargreaves S Williams tries J Maloney 7 goals) beat Parramatta Eels 0.
Crowd: 18,014 at Allianz Stadium.
We wondered when the Roosters would be able to convert the many chances they are capable of creating — 15 line breaks for just six tries in their previous three matches is not what we were expecting.
But we also weren’t expecting this.
The Roosters absolutely demolished a pathetic Parramatta squad by a record margin between the two clubs, racking up 50 points to a big fat donut in one of the most dominant all-around displays we’ve seen.
The Chooks held the opposition scoreless for the second straight week, missing just six tackles against a team that features noted line-breakers Chris Sandow and Jarryd Hayne — players who the Roosters made look anything but the million-dollar pairing.
And it’s not like the Eels did have chances: they had 43 per cent of the ball and found opportunities down the left wing in the second half, but the Roosters defence swarmed all night and put pressure on each and every Parramatta player who received the pill, no matter where they were on the field.
The Roosters ran in nine tries, broke the line as many times, had 10 offloads to just one, won the penalty count (barely) and kept the opposition from breaking the line — again, for the second straight week.
Say what you will about Parramatta’s defence, but they are more than capable in attack having racked up scores of 40, 16 and 18 during their first three matches.
It was a game of ducks really — Parramatta were held to one, while Michael Jennings and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck broke their tryscoring droughts for the tricolours. Daniel Tupou opened his account for the year as did Boyd Cordner, Daniel Mortimer and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
But it’s the holding of two teams to consecutive ducks that has the Roosters firmly in the premiership race my friends.
Oh, and we also have this guy.
Man of the Match: Sonny Bill Williams.
There have been some memorable individual performances over the years but nothing quite compares to what Sonny Bill Williams did against the Parramatta Eels last night.
He was selective when he received it and ran it, and he returned to his old stomping grounds — the right hand edge — before turning every touch into absolute gold.
in the first half alone he had three offloads, a line break assist, a try and 13 tackles — but really the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
He channelled his inner Freddy on almost every touch, his offloads created attacking raids following the carnage in trying to get him down, and lead almost directly to two tries. He sent Shaun Kenny-Dowall away on the right side and scored a try off a Mitchell Pearce tap-back on the left wing.
He dominated in defence, and continued his streak of games without a missed tackle to four games. Just an unbelievable statistic to ponder.
He didn’t stop in the second.
He threw a Freddy-esque cutout pass to a streaking Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on the right wing for the winger’s third try — a pass Andrew Johns called “an act of genius”.
His final numbers don’t truly reflect the dominance he had over the game — 19 tackles for no misses, seven runs for 47 metres, four offloads, two tackle busts, two line break assists and a try assist — as everything he did was absolute magic out there.
Trent Robinson said in the post-match presser that “when he was in union he played both sides of the park and we’ve talked about just letting him go”.
Whatever you say, coach. If this is the type of display we can expect if SBW has a roaming role out there, then go for it.
I mentioned last week that SBW still looked a little awkward out there, but last night he was anything but. He was omnipotent, and that offload from his Doggies days coincided with his return to the right side of the field.
The Sheck and Tupou
Twitter guy Ryan Heighway (@Heighway_) said during the week that once Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored one, the floodgates would open. He might just have to start writing for 26 Rounds.
The Sheck scored a brilliant hat-trick, capitalising on a beautiful chip from MP7 and displaying outstanding athleticism to score his first try. His second was just as good, a brilliant winger’s try off that rarest of plays: a Shaun Kenny-Dowall pass. His third was the result of that brilliant SBW cut-out. Throughout the game he asked questions of the defence with that dazzling footwork and explosion off the mark and finished the game with eight tackle busts, two line breaks and 113 metres off 13 hitups.
And Daniel Tupou has learned — in the space of a week, mind you — how to stay deep and capitalise on the opportunities that will come as a result of playing alongside Michael Jennings.
He ran 16 times for 212 metres and completely dominated the last 20 minutes as the Roosters attacked almost exclusively down the right side to finish off the game, before scoring a try by beating some typically pathetic Sandow defence. In all he had three line breaks and four tackle busts after a scare in the first half when he got up from a tackle favouring his right ankle.
So this is what happens when you hold the ball. OK.
In the first half they completed 19 of 20 sets — a statistic deemed unfathomable as little as a week ago. They finished having completed 33 of 38 sets, an 87 per cent clip, with just four errors.
And they won the penalty count for the second successive week. Did we think THAT was possible just two weeks ago?
JWH has ascended to the top tier of props in the game.
When you score a barnstorming try and set the defensive tone for a team that hasn’t leaked a single point in two games while providing fantastic go-forward and unparalleled energy, you have to be considered among the best props in the game. You just have to be.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ second offload led directly to Daniel Mortimer’s try, and he bowled over Parramatta’s hapless hooker Matt Keating with an eff-you fend that had the crowd on its feet in the first half.
JWH has had four straight top-three performances and — call it giddiness after a 50-0 win if you must — but he is the form front rower in the game, with only Sam Burgess playing nearly as well.
Against the Eels he had 12 runs for 102 metres, three offloads — a weapon which has slowly been added to his game — with a try assist, a try, 20 tackles and no misses.
But it’s his pure ferocity that has him at or near the top of the tree, and that fend against an admittedly much-smaller Keating was up there with the highlights of a night filled with them.
The BBQ was warm and MP7 was cooking.
James Maloney threatened with every single run he made without busting the line and kicked seven goals from nine attempts — his two misses hitting the uprights from out wide. He kicked 11 times for 400 metres — which was more than the entire Eels’ kicking metres of just 307.
And Mitchell Pearce was simply superb.
He had two try assists, one with that perfectly-placed chip to The Sheck’s wing, and his bombing of the two wingers for the Eels was relentless.
His defence was fantastic again and his running game was on song without actually breaking the line.
If it weren’t for SBW’s virtuoso performance, MP7 would’ve been my man of the match. He led a kicking game in which the Roosters kicked for 687 metres, a whopping 380 more than the Parramatta team. His bombs were lost in the lights of Allianz Stadium and the wingers simply had no answer for it.
Unless the media wins with its push to get Adam Reynolds that sky blue jersey, this could be the NSW halves we’re looking at.
The team defence. Wow.
No line breaks conceded.
Just 924 running metres allowed.
Only one offload conceded.
Thirteen errors forced.
No points allowed for the second successive week, the first time that has happened since 1999.
The defence rests. And it’s earned it.
Stats courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald (click to enlarge):