The Roosters have made a complete mockery of the Panthers’ position as joint ladder leaders, by destroying them to the tune of 32-6. Their attack appeared to be more fluent than it has been as they sent the Panthers back to the foot of the Blue Mountains with their tails between their legs. Here are five things we learned from this match:
1 Quick fire start vital for Roosters
With both teams ranked highly in terms of defence, most tipped this match to be a Titanic struggle. However, the first 20 minutes of this match proved the aforementioned to be a myth, as the Roosters scored better than a point a minute to lead 18-0 after 16 minutes, before the Panthers got one back, scoring a converted try in the 18th minute.
There would only be a penalty goal scored by the Roosters in the dying minutes of the first half, as they led 20-6 at halftime. The tricolours would hold the Panthers scoreless in the second half, while adding two further converted tries, en route to a very impressive victory. In doing so, the Chooks not only consolidated on their winning streak, but they continued their overall dominance of the Mountain men.
2 Roosters most comprehensive performance all year
Throughout the season thus far, much has been said about the Roosters’ stuttering campaign. However, since their heartbreaking loss to the Broncos in round 11, the Chooks have managed to win all their matches. In fact, after their convincing win against the Titans a week later, some commentators went to the extent to suggest that victory would be a turning point in their season.
With the results produced by the tricolours since then, a case had been established. This highly impressive and comprehensive victory has only served to underline the statements of those commentators, given it came at the expense of one of the best performing teams in the competition. It can only spur the tricolours on to produce similar performances, in order to emphasise their premiership credentials.
Whilst the Chooks have been able to score some large victories this season, it just feels that this victory is the most comprehensive one for the season (or at least equal to the 32-0 shutout of the Warriors in New Zealand). The reason for this is the quality of their opposition for this match, and the manner in which they completely dismantled their opponents.
3 Key stats belong to the Chooks
The magnitude of the final scoreline may come as a surprise of most fans, especially considering the quality of the teams involved. However, when they key statistics are examined more thoroughly, the final scoreline of 32-6 will seem substantially less surprising.
The following are the key statistics which favoured the Roosters: 68% possession to 32%, 86% completion rate to 69%, 1942 metres to 1157, 663 post-contact metres to 411, and 6 line breaks to 2. On the other hand, the Panthers were simply their own worst enemies, as they were forced to make 428 tackles to 261 for the Roosters, missed a whopping 60 tackles, as opposed to 27 for the Roosters, conceded 9 penalties (6 more than the Chooks), while making more errors than their opponents.
Compounding the Panthers’ frustrating night was a second half sin binning of centre, Tyrone Peachey for a professional foul.
4 High flying Panthers brought back to Earth
Given the hot streak that the Panthers were in the midst of, very few people expected them to be completely outclassed by a Roosters team, yet to hit their straps. However, that’s what transpired this evening, as they were brought back to Earth with a massive thud, courtesy of a 32-6 humbling by the men from Bondi. It can be said that after tonight’s battle of Eastern Sydney vs Western Sydney, Eastern Sydney will be crowing tonight, while Western Sydney will be licking their wounds.
On the flip side, some commentators have suggested that this is the loss and wake up call that the Panthers need. Given that they have yet to really produce a complete performance in any of their matches (exception being in their victories over the Cowboys, Titans and Dragons), it’s hard to make a case against them. The Panthers are a high quality team, and there is minimal doubt that they will use this loss to spur them on for the remainder of the season.
Moreover, with skipper Peter Wallace having announced his recent retirement, there is little doubt that he deserved a better send off than what was surprisingly served up by his club.
5 Blue pain for Campbell-Gillard and Mitchell
Compounding the loss for the Panthers and souring the victory for the Roosters were injuries to key Blues representative players, Panthers prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell. Campbell-Gillard had suffered a broken jaw in the first half, whilst Mitchell had injured his neck in a tackle by Nathan Cleary, which would have been accidental. Neither player would return to the field afterwards.
Therefore, with State of Origin selection just around the corner, and the match coming up on Sunday week, it would appear that neither player will be ready to play in the second game of Origin, which is highly likely to cause selection headaches for the selectors and coaches, regarding who to select as their replacements.
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