A rejuvenated Sydney Roosters outfit have recorded a comfortable 32-12 win over Penrith at Allianz Stadium today in front of 13,993 supporters.
The Panthers appeared hamstrung before a ball was even kicked - after losing several key players to injury in recent weeks, the pre-match news that Josh Mansour had succumb to last Monday's ankle injury meant a backline and second-row reshuffle to unsettle the troops early. The Roosters on the other hand welcomed back the experienced Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to replace rookie Brendan Elliot on the wing and it appeared to work wonders.
A frantic opening ten minutes saw a 40/20 for the Roosters via Jake Friend, a subsequent sin-binning of Elijah Taylor for an offside play on the restart tap, an unlucky error by Penrith forward Bryce Cartwright on his own line attempting to pick up a loose Roosters pass, and finally a try to the hosts through Aidan Guerra.
Penrith struggled to find any ball, let alone field position and when they did, the last tackle options didn't suit the style of play they were forced to revert to - the Roosters going back up the other end with a try via Mitchell Aubusson. The Roosters were then denied a third try to Mitchell Pearce on the half-hour mark, the halfback ruled to have stripped the ball from Matt Moylan and knocked it on before grounding it. The Bondi boys made up for it five minutes before halftime with Remi Casty barging over. Maloney converted his third straight to push the home side to 18-0 leaders at the halftime break.
The second half saw a string of penalties help Penrith look slightly more threatening, but the visitors were unable to post any sort of points until the 57th minute when Bryce Cartwright ran an inside line close to the posts. The next five minutes were nervous ones for the Roosters as they worked to stop the flow of momentum in Penrith's favour. The tide turned at the 66th minute when James Maloney potted a penalty goal in front of the posts to increase the margin to fourteen.
In the final ten minutes both sides managed to cross for points to bring us to the final scoreline - Boyd Cordner bagged a double, one off a Maloney grubber, the other a Pearce short ball before the line. Penrith's consolation four-pointer went to James Segeyaro who slid through the defence off the back of some cheeky dummies.
Injury-wise, the Roosters will hold concerns over Jake Friend and Mitchell Aubusson who both sustained head injuries during the game and were taken off for concussion tests.
Next week the Roosters will be looking to continue their newfound form when they head to Hunter Stadium for Friday night footy against Newcastle, while Penrith have taken a home game to the other side of the Blue Mountains - they host Cronulla at Carrington Park in Bathurst next Saturday afternoon.