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The Sydney Roosters? Jersey Flegg outfit overcame a dogged Central Coast to tough out a 30-16 round-two win at Aussie Stadium this afternoon.
Heavy favourites heading into the match ? against a club that racked up a litany of unwanted defensive records in 2005 ? the Roosters were made to earn the two points against a vastly improved Rip outfit in stifling heat.
The Rip made the Roosters ? who blew an early try in the left corner ? pay after eight minutes when some swift ball movement fed speedy winger Nick Briggs a four pointer. Abed Attalah converted to give the visitors a surprise 6-0 lead.
But a decisive bust up field from Roosters hooker Lewis Brown paved the way for Anthony Watts (pictured) to send Jeremy Gordon over out wide. Gordon converted his own try from the sideline to level the match at 6-all.
With both sides struggling to complete their sets, lightning-fast Rip fullback Nick Brown busted the match wide open 10 minutes before half-time after splitting the Roosters? defence from a scrum feed to race 50 metres and score under the posts. With Attalah?s second conversion the Rip ? who infamously had 100 points put on them by the Dragons last year ? looked primed for a major upset.
The home side fumbled their way through the remainder of the half ? but a deft offload from first grade hopeful Grant Millington helped powerful winger Pierce Sapsford get the match back on an even keel 90 seconds from the interval.
With some words of wisdom from coach Jim Dymock ringing in their ears, the Roosters came out fired up after the break ? forcing a Central Coast turnover that allowed uncompromising winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall to score in the left corner. Another sideline goal from Sapsford speared the Roosters to an 18-12 lead after 40 minutes.
However, Central Coast refused to back off ? after a misread in defence allowed Briggs to score an embarrassingly easy try out wide to reduce the deficit to two.
But young half Mitchell Pearce gave the Roosters some breathing space after breaking through to race 70 metres from a scrum and score under the posts.
A pinpoint cross-field chip from Watts that gifted Gordon his second four pointer sealed the match with eight minutes remaining ? ensuring the Roosters will stay inside the top four after two rounds
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 30 (Jeremy Gordon 2, Mitchell Pearce, Pierce Sapsford, Shaun Kenny-Dowall tries; Jeremy Gordon 5/5 goals) defeated CENTRAL COAST RIP 16 (Nick Briggs 2, Nick Brown tries; Abed Attalah 2/3 goals) at Aussie Stadium; Sunday, March 19th, 2006; Referee: Luke Potter.