Friday evening of round 2 has begun with a victory for the Roosters over the Bulldogs, thereby bouncing back from their surprise opening round loss to the Tigers. However, for the Dogs, the wait for a first victory is prolonged for at least another week. Here are the five main points to have emerged for this match.
1. Roosters begin to live up to pre-season hype
With the high profile off-season purchases of Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco, the Roosters were widely expected to be undefeated at this stage of the season, and eventually, take out the premiership. Instead, thanks to an inauspicious opening round performance, they were heading into this match in search for a first victory.
This was a much-improved performance by the Chooks, who raced to a 12-0 lead, to eventually lead 18-0 at the interval, despite being down to 12 men, thanks to a first-half sin-binning of Isaac Liu. They would proceed with the job in the second half, en route to a 30-12 victory. Moreover, despite making fewer runs than their opponents (148 to the Bulldogs’ 191), they actually amassed more metres, making 1391 metres, compared to the Dogs’ 1218.
What made this victory more special is the fact that the new signings, Tedesco and Cronk, not only clicked but both opened their try-scoring accounts for the season, as well as for their new club.
2. Error count still high for the tricolours
Despite the victory, the final error count for the Roosters was relatively high, compared to their opponents (14, compared to 7 for the Bulldogs). The tricolours were ranked one of the worst last season, in regards to errors made.They also missed more tackles than their opponents (24 to 22), as well as the fact they made fewer offloads than the Dogs.
Whilst there is minimal doubt regarding the quality of the Roosters, ball security is one area of their game which they must address and repair if they want to meet the pre-season expectations of their fans. It may not prove as costly against smaller teams, but against powerhouses, such as the Storm and Cowboys, this weakness can be brutally exploited.
3. Sin-binning had no effect on the Roosters
It was around the 20-minute mark that the tricolours would find themselves reduced to 12 men, thanks to the sin-binning of their lock forward, Isaac Liu, due to a professional foul. They were fortunate not to be exploited, as a try by Bulldogs winger Marcelo Montoya was disallowed, due to an obstruction by skipper Josh Jackson.
The Chooks would eventually go into the break, leading 18-0. Moreover, they would not concede their first points until the 49th minute, courtesy of a try by veteran Bulldogs centre, Josh Morris.
4. Bulldogs’ rebuild yet to come to full circle
Although the Bulldogs have been competitive against two competition heavyweights in as many weeks, the fact is that their rebuilding is yet to come full circle. Last week against the Storm, they pushed the defending premiers to the limit and could have been closer, but for a lack of cutting edge to finish their plays. This week, after being completely outplayed in the first half, they were much more competitive in the second half, twice bringing the margin back to 2 converted tries, but for a late try to the Roosters.
This means that, to their credit, the Doggies continued to fight, despite being ultimately up against it. Some of the statistics depict this, as they completed 82% of their sets (compared to 70% for the Roosters), made more offloads than the Chooks (14 to 8), and missed fewer tackles. The offloads suggest that they were prepared to chance their arm, and if they continue this going forward, they can definitely create some decent try-scoring opportunities.
Moreover, Moses Mbye had yet another blinder of a game since making the switch from the halves to the fullback position.
5. Tupou out for a lengthy period
The Roosters may have won rather comfortably in the end, however, the win has definitely come a massive cost, with the injury to a key attacking player. In his attempt to tackle Bulldogs halfback Kieran Foran, winger Daniel Tupou tore his pectoral muscle. The injury occurred in the period where his side was reduced to 12 men, thanks to Liu’s sin-binning. Tupou was immediately assisted from the field and played no further part in the match.
With this injury, Tupou is likely to face an extended period on the sidelines, with some believing that the representative winger could be out for at least 10 weeks. Moreover, his replacement Mitch Aubusson joined him as a casualty from the match, as he required stitches due to a collision with the knee of teammate Jake Friend. This leaves Roosters coach Trent Robinson with a selection headache regarding his outside backs, as it is unknown how long Aubusson will be missing for.
What were your highlights from a big win by the Roosters? Let us know in the comments below.