1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Stats: 15 runs, 132 metres, three tackle busts, one line break, one try assist
Saturday sucked, and ranking 10 players is going to be a long, thankless slog. But at least Roger did as much as possible to give Roosters fans some highlights to remember.
First, he made a winding break up field in the second half to give the Roosters a chance, only for the referees to give the middle finger to convention and go back two plays to determine foul play. Then, he did this:
He dropped a ball, but otherwise was the most effective player for the Roosters — and to be honest, it wasn’t that hard of a decision. How we can fill out 10 players to rank from a game in which the Roosters were severely outmatched is going to be the biggest crisis this website has faced since it’s chief writer had to write a review while hungover after the grand final.
2. Anthony Minichiello
Stats: 10 runs, 95 metres, three tackle busts, two line breaks, one try, five tackles, two misses, one try.
I originally named Mini the co-MotM in the review yesterday, but he’s since been downgraded on reflection to finish a close second. He gave the Roosters a shot when they didn’t deserve one, making a break from the in-goal and following it up to score off a delectable cut-out from the Origin-bound Aidan Guerra.
He also gets bonus points for dropping his first ever eff-bomb during a discussion with the referees following the call-back of Dodge’s break. Never been prouder of him, to be perfectly honest.
But Paul Green had the tactic to put grubbers at Mini all game, and that largely contributed to the Roosters struggling to get the ball back out from the corners. Mini was not helped one bit though by his forwards, who failed to get back to help them cart it out almost on every set of the match.
3. Aidan Guerra
Stats: Nine runs, 68 metres, two tackle busts, one line break assist, one try assist, 45 tackles.
The Roosters will miss Guerra in the coming weeks, not just for his gangly running style but for his underrated defence. He made 45 tackles with two one-on-ones in an 80-minute effort, second only to their tireless hooker.
He also threw a delicious cut-out for Mini’s try and he was the only forward who came close to hitting double-digit runs. he’s earned his spot with the Queenslanders — but shit, we could have used him this week.
4. Jake Friend
Stats: Two runs, two metres (not a misprint), 59 tackles, four misses, one kick for 58 metres.
Jakey confirmed his standing as the Queensland rake-in-waiting when he was named 19th man for the Queensland squad — but his selection likely came prior to this game when he was largely muted by impossible field position.
He made an error of judgement when he kicked early in the tackle count at one point in the first half aiming for a 40/20, when the Roosters really could have given themselves a break from defending. He also threw a forward pass and couldn’t find the space for a run in the entire game.
But hell, he made 59 tackles. And after him, it’s a pretty steep drop-off in the rankings to five and beyond.
5. James Maloney
Stats: Six runs, 78 metres, five tackle busts, one line break assist, 10 kicks for 301 metres, 24 tackles, four misses, three errors.
Maloney tried his arse off, and his running game was surprisingly strong for a guy whose shoulder is in need of a needle. But that shoulder is affecting his play, and he struggled with the weight of the playmaking duties resting squarely on his shoulders, one of which is fucked up.
He made three errors and didn’t get credit for one in which he threw a bullet pass to Frank Paul’s head. He also had a forward pass from dummy half and his kicking game — admittedly behind a well-beaten pack — was off. To top it off, he will lose his spot in Origin tonight. That’s insult to injury.
6. Mitchell Aubusson
Stats: Five runs, 44 metres, one tackle bust, 34 tackles, one miss.
I’m clutching at straws here. Aubo’s defence was solid but he needed to run it more in 80 minutes. He made a near-break in the first half but apart from that he was barely sighted. And I have him ranked sixth.
7. Sonny Bill Williams
Stats: Seven runs, 67 metres, one offload, one tackle bust, 31 tackles, no misses, one error.
SBW copped some flack for disappearing, but let’s be fair here: he was selected out of position, and they didn’t ever get the ball in decent enough field position for him to be able to do anything. He defended very well for the most part, except when he got beaten and slipped over when Jonathan Thurston went through with a trademark dummy.
But he wasn’t sighted at all in the first half. To wit: he had just one run in the first 40.
Was it all his fault considering he was meant to play five-eighth? No… but he should have demanded the ball more and got back to help his backs cart it out.
8. Boyd Cordner
Stats: six runs, 54 metres, one offload, 14 tackles, one sad injury.
This is just frigging sad. He’s likely out for at least seven weeks after injuring his ankle in a tackle on Brent Tate. That grub. He went off after 33 minutes and didn’t return, and the Roosters seriously missed his late footwork and ability to get the Roosters on a roll.
And now he’s out, and misses out on his first starting berth with the Blues thanks to his shitty luck with injuries.
9. Michael Jennings
Stats: Eight runs, 64 metres, seven tackles, two misses, one error..
I’m really struggling to justify ranking a full 10 players here. I’m going to stop doing so now. Good day to you.
10. Isaac Liu
Stats: Five runs, 49 metres, 30 tackles, two misses.
I SAID GOOD DAY!!!