Sat 4 March 2017
Cbus Super Stadium - Crowd: 13933

Cool Hand Luke rules the Roost

Luke Keary has had a debut to remember scoring two tries and having a hand in two more in a first half demolition from the much hyped Roosters, who managed to secure an impressive 32-18 victory despite a second half resurgence from the Gold Coast Titans.

Ironically a day after Greg Inglis was ruled out for the season, it was his perceived protégé, Latrell Mitchell who was also outstanding, scoring a hat-trick in a sublime performance from the Taree junior.

Early calls from many experts that the Tricolours were the team on the up in 2017 were justified with an electric first half performance, which emphasized the fact that the Roosters could in fact be title contenders this year, with new recruits Keary and veteran fullback Michael Gordon complimenting the slick playing style of star half Mitch Pearce and young gun Mitchell.

The new halves combination of Pearce and Keary opened the scoring in just the 8th minute when Pearce delivered some early ball to the former Bunnies number 6, who gave an old fashioned show and go, before bouncing off Titans half Ash Taylor to score on debut.

An invigorated Roosters backline then again clicked into gear, when some quick hands from Keary and fellow new recruit Michael Gordon set young gun Latrell Mitchell free for him to score the Roosters second try to make it 10 nil after 13 minutes.

The Roosters continued to carve up the Titans through the middle and their backline again flexed its muscle, when Keary drifted to the right hand side of the field and again dummied through the line to bag his second try in a dream start to his Roosters career and the Tricolours extended their lead to 14-0.

Again, the Bondi outfit again shredded through the Gold Coast defence minutes later when Mitchell Pearce burst through off a Kane Evans pass to send veteran fullback Gordon on a path to the tryline. The former Eel then turned Titans half Kane Elgey inside out to score under the posts to extend the lead to 20-0 after converting his own try.

A rampant Roosters side were not done yet, when Latrell Mitchell scored his second try, after putting his winger Daniel Tupou away down the sideline, who repaid the youngster with a pass inside and a safe passage to the tryline and the Roosters lead 28-0 in a first half demolition.

The Titans walked into the change rooms despondent at halftime, however whatever coach Neil Henry said at halftime certainly worked as the Titans came out with a new attitude in defence in the early exchanges. 

Winger Anthony Don then opened the Titans account when he scooped up a loose ball from Michael Gordon after a strong tackle from Konrad Hurrell and raced 90 metres untouched to score under the posts. 

Kane Elgey then celebrated his return from a long injury lay off, when Roosters outside backs Shaun Kenny-Dowall and fullback Gordon had a communication breakdown colliding while fielding an Ashley Taylor bomb. Elgey picked up the scraps to score under the posts and suddenly the Titans had clawed their way back into the game. Jarryd Hayne then flew onto a Taylor cross field kick to score his first try for 2017 and suddenly the Titans were a chance when they narrowed the lead to 10 points.

In the end though, the Roosters first half performance couldn't be breached, with Latrell Mitchell securing a hat-trick in the 78th minute to lock away a very impressive victory for the visitors to open their account for the 2017 season.

The Titans will need to re-group quickly, as they now face the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium next Saturday, while the victorious Roosters will now face arch rivals the Bulldogs on Thursday night in what promises to be another blockbuster to open Round 2 of the 2017 season.

3. Luke Keary

Keary had a dream debut, scoring two tries and having a hand in two more. The Titans had no answer for his play, continuously drifting in and out of the backline in a dominant first half performance.

2. Latrell Mitchell

Mitchell will hit a new level this year. He was always a handful for the Titans and scored 3 tries in a career best performance.

1. Mitchell Pearce

Overshadowed by Keary, however provided the former Souths half with some superb opportunities in the first half. His defence was also excellent, shutting down danger man Jarryd Hayne on numerous occasions.