Roosters roll on as Panthers pack their bags

The Sydney Roosters have booked a preliminary final date with the Titans next Friday, following a comfortable 34-12 win over an injury-hit Penrith Panthers tonight at the SFS.

A crowd of 23,459 watched on as the Roosters withstood a few early penalties to post first points through a Mitchell Pearce try, a good long-range effort started by Kane Linnett and Phil Graham down the left before they found Pearce in support. Penrith began falling like flies at this point, Michael Jennings first to find himself back in the sheds, followed before halftime by Luke Lewis who looked to have concussion. Gavin Cooper also trotted up the tunnel to reduce the bench to just one man for the visitors.

Braith Anasta pushed the Roosters lead to 12-0 at halftime with a try after 34 minutes, and despite the relatively small lead, the Roosters looked comfortably in front at the break. A Sam Perrett try and subsequent penalty goal after the break saw the Roosters 18-0 up, but Penrith earned a momentum shift with 20 minutes remaining, getting on the board through Adrian Purtell after a sublime Luke Walsh line-break.

It wasn't to be for Penrith, the awful teal of their jerseys matching the way they finished the game, giving up 16 points and only scoring 6 more in the final quarter of the match for the final result of 34-12.

It was a huge game for a few of the Tricolours, most namely Mitchell Pearce who orchestrated play and took the lead from Todd Carney who was unusually quiet in comparison. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was rampaging for the Roosters also, while Anthony Minichiello was safe-as-houses at the back as always, with a fantastic try of his own to boot. Lachlan Coote's return from injury was quiet but solid and Luke Lewis showed tremendous courage to return to the field late in the game from an earlier concussion but Penrith simply didn't have the legs to match the Roosters tonight.

So what does that mean? The Roosters head to Suncorp Stadium on Friday night to face the Gold Coast Titans, with the winner of that game facing either the Dragons or Wests Tigers on Grand Final Day. For Penrith, it's curtains on a season where many might say they overachieved - although without the huge finals injury toll, we'll never know what they were truly capable of.

Match Details
Sydney Roosters 34 defeated Penrith Panthers 12
National Rugby League - Finals Week 2 - Saturday September 18, 2010 7:45pm
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Ben Cummins
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: David Abood and Russell Turner
Crowd: 23,459
Halftime: Sydney Roosters 12 Penrith Panthers 0

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Mitchell Pearce (1 Try)
2 Points - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
1 Point - Anthony Minichiello (1 Try)

SYDNEY ROOSTERS (34)
Tries: Todd Carney, Anthony Minichiello, Sam Perrett (2), Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce
Conversions: Todd Carney (4/6)
Penalty Goals: Todd Carney (1/1)

PENRITH PANTHERS (12)
Tries: Adrian Purtell, Wade Graham
Conversions: Michael Gordon (2/2)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Well, can this finals series get any better? You bet it can! Tonight it's the Roosters and the Panthers coming to you LIVE from the Sydney Football Stadium!
The crowd is building solidly here at the SFS, concerns it wouldn't reach 20,000 but it should break that by kickoff.
It's been a big day of Rugby League at this ground, gates opened five hours ago. First, Chifley College took out the final of the ARL Schoolboys Trophy (formerly Arrive Alive Cup), defeating Eagle Vale High 14-12. Next week is the Cup Final at Suncorp, where Keebra Park State and The Hills State will face off.
Next up we had the Coca Cola Cup Final, Mascot defeated the Wests Red Devils by a thumping 52-0.
Then of course the big Toyota Cup clash, which saw the Canterbury Bulldogs come from behind to defeat the Sydney Roosters 24-22 on the bell. The Roosters are now eliminated from the Under 20's competition, while the Bulldogs will face the Warriors on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Also earlier today the Bankstown City Bulls progressed to the Bundy Red Cup Grand Final after disposing of The Entrance Tigers 44-22 in their preliminary final showdown at St Mary's. Tomorrow in NSW Cup, the feeder teams for today's NRL combatants face off at Leichhardt - at 3:00pm the Newtown Jets (Roosters) will play the Windsor Wolves (Panthers). But for now, strap yourself in! It's NRL FINALS TIME!
Late Mail The Sydney Roosters are 1-17.
Late Mail Big changes for the Penrith Panthers. Lachlan Coote is back in jersey #21 at fullback, forcing Gordon to the wing, Purtell to the second row, and Gavin Cooper to the bench.
We're ready here, the Panthers take to the field in their teal "alternate" strip, led by returning captain Petero Civoniceva. The Roosters, sporting their heritage jersey with their full vee are out now as well, led by field goal freak Braith Anasta. We're ready! One team is eighty minutes from elimination!
1 min: GAME ON! We're underway at the SFS! Roosters with first possession.
3 min: First penalty of the game in favour of the Panthers, they get into an attacking position on the back of it, but off the first hit-up, Sam McKendry has dropped it. Suggestions of a hand on the ball from the Roosters but they get the scrum
4 min: Another penalty to Penrith for laying around in the ruck. Poor discipline early from the Roosters has given Penrith piggybacks out of their own zone. Jennings (Panthers) is down in backplay.
5 min: Knock-on by Civoniceva this time, in front of the Roosters posts. Lucky break for the Bondi boys.
7 min: Purtell and then Walsh carving up the Roosters down the left, but another error! Completion rate of just 2/5 from the Panthers despite having more attacking football.
10 min: Minichiello hit hard after receiving the ball following a Panthers fifth tackle kick. Jennings goes off, which will see Purtell switch to centre now and Cooper come on earlier than anticipated. He's walking but it remains to be seen if he'll return to the field.
12 min: TRY
TRY Sydney Roosters
Scored by Mitchell Pearce. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney successful.
Coming out of their own end the Roosters find Penrith short on the right, shift it to the edge and Graham is in space! The defenders converge on him but Pearce is there in support and will take it, and run the remaining 30 metres to open the scoring! Superb long-range try, which Todd Carney has no trouble converting.
Sydney Roosters 6-0
14 min: Luke Lewis penalised on tackle two of the return set for not being square. Penrith only with themselves to blame so far...
15 min: Uncharacteristic error from Carney, a simple drop-ball with the Panthers at his mercy. Lewis swoops on the ball and Penrith work their way out of trouble.
17 min: Linnett is away down the sideline following a wonderful no-look ball from Anasta. The Roosters' attack continues but it's not to be as another attempted offload finds its way into Penrith arms.
19 min: A bomb from Pearce and it comes down close to the sideline... Penrith let it bounce and it's almost a disaster, but they retrieve the ball. Now Burns makes a break, links up with Purtell but the break is butchered as Purtell's pass forces Burns to backtrack and dive on the ball. Penrith still on the attack though...
21 min: Good stuff from Penrith there to force repeat sets. Roosters dropout
23 min: A quick scan around the ground and while there's a few full bays, this crowd is very disappointing for a semi-final involving two Sydney teams. A penalty to Penrith here with Mitchell Pearce having a bit too much of a snooze. They'll attack now.
24 min: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is tackled just in goal and it's a dropout. In backplay, we now have Luke Lewis down looking groggy after his head made contact with Minichiello's knee.
24 min: Lewis is being walked from the field, he looks like he's in Disneyland at the moment, not great.
26 min: Bad to worse here, Travis Burns involved in a head clash, although he's picked himself up and is back in the line... there's blood coming from his nose they'll have to stop play here shortly.
27 min: Tighe's spilled it as the Panthers push it wide, they're looking likely but just can't find that final play to get over the line.
30 min: Mitch Aubusson makes a good break down the right flank and the Panthers players hang off him before he finds Sam Perrett with a not-so-good pass. Perrett's into touch. We now have Phil Graham off for the Roosters, and he's headed straight to the sheds...
31 min: Luke Walsh reverts to the Panthers' backstop - "when in doubt, bomb" - but Minichiello shows his mettle and takes it in-goal on the full.
34 min: TRY Dewsbury Rams (NL1)
TRY Sydney Roosters
Scored by Braith Anasta. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney successful.
The Roosters with their first solid attacking raid on the Penrith line and they work the numbers, Anasta withstanding a rushing Brad Tighe to take a Pearce offload and cross the line to score. Carney pushes the lead to twelve.
Sydney Roosters 12-0
37 min: Penrith are falling apart, now Gavin Cooper is seen limping up the tunnel. Fifth tackle option in attack fails as Walsh throws a terrible forward pass.
38 min: Big JWH for the Roosters rampages down the ground, he finds support inside but the defenders including Lachlan Coote have won the race... Coote knocks it on though, so it will be a Roosters ball. No! Flick pass from SKD finds Purtell and Penrith are away now!
39 min: Now the ball is turned over again, Todd Carney flying down the park! He's dragged down and as the Panthers try to slow it all down, they're penalised. Petero's not happy and tries to chat to Cummins to slow it down more, but he's told to walk away.
40 min: HALFTIME and despite Penrith's best efforts after stealing possession, they can't get on the board before the break. Roosters 12 Panthers 0, with an almost full casualty ward ready to greet Penrith coach Matt Elliott as he issues his halftime rev-up.
40 min: Play is back underway at the SFS, Penrith need a super second half to get out of this one!
44 min: Is it a try.... no! Held up, the Roosters unlucky there, Perrett can't get the ball down. Still with the ball, he'll play it ten metres out.
44 min: Is it a try.... no! Held up, the Roosters unlucky there, Perrett can't get the ball down. Still with the ball, he'll play it ten metres out.
44 min: TRY
TRY Sydney Roosters
Scored by Sam Perrett. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney unsuccessful.
Mitchell Pearce with a perfect pass and Sammy Perrett is in the corner... TRY! Strong start to the second half from the Roosters, and Penrith's season looks to be crumbling here.
Sydney Roosters 16-0
49 min: Things getting touchy here with Coote and a Roosters' player coming to blows off-the-ball, and a penalty to Penrith a play later for a high shot. Penrith into Roosters' territory now and will attack, hoping to break their duck.
52 min: A momentum-building penalty for the Roosters as they now move into the Penrith danger zone. Reports from the sheds indicating Lewis and Jennings won't be back tonight, and Cooper is highly unlikely. Penrith left with a one-man bench for the remainder of the game. Penalty Roosters in front of the posts now, they'll go for two.
54 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Sydney Roosters
Penalty goal attempt by Todd Carney successful.
Carney has no trouble slotting it from in front to extend the Roosters lead.
Sydney Roosters 18-0
57 min: Penrith just aren't in this, they haven't been all night. Anasta held up over the line here as the Roosters continue to pepper the Panthers defensive line.
58 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a very unlikely Roosters try, Michael Gordon looks to have lost the ball off a Roosters grubber. Just checking who may have got their hands to the ball as Gordon and the chasers slid across the tryline.
58 min: Steve Clark says NO TRY, it's a knock-on by the Roosters, Gordon ruled to have knocked it back initially before a Rooster contacted the ball into him. Penrith scrum.
60 min: Luke Lewis is back out there despite reports he was gone, but on his third hit-up after returning he's carried into touch. Roosters scrum.
60 min: Possession changing hands quickly, Minichiello with a break, lots of sets of hands there and somehow Lachlan Coote ends up with the ball and sprints away. Penrith on the attack now!
63 min: TRY
TRY Penrith Panthers
Scored by Adrian Purtell. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
Luke Walsh into space, they won't stop him, will they? They might, but he flick passes superbly inside for Adrian Purtell to cross for Penrith's first try. Gordon's conversion reduces the deficit to 12.
Sydney Roosters 18-6
65 min: Penrith spill the ball on halfway and the Roosters are pushing back into the opposition half now... AND get a penalty. They could put this game to bed here.
67 min: TRY
TRY Sydney Roosters
Scored by Anthony Minichiello. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney successful.
All too easy this time, Anasta shifts left to combine with Minichiello and they exploit the overlap with ease the Roosters. That should be the ballgame as Carney extends the lead back to 18.
Sydney Roosters 24-6
68 min: Penalty Roosters from the kickoff, it went out on the full AND didn't go ten metres. Terrible stuff from Penrith, they know they've lost it.
70 min: TRY
TRY Sydney Roosters
Scored by Todd Carney. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney successful.
Pearce looked tackled just before the line, Carney is there in support and scores a superb try, they're turning it on now the Tricolours! He converts his own to make it six points and the Roosters hit thirty.
Sydney Roosters 30-6
71 min: The short kickoff pays dividends for Penrith this time as Mitch Aubusson makes a meal of it. Penrith scrum near halfway.
73 min: Disappointing crowd of 23,459 for this one, most of the crowd is up above the broadcast boxes on the top level, not visible to those watching on TV.
73 min: VIDEO REFEREE Steve Clark to adjudicate on a possible Panthers try, either Wade Graham or Nathan Smith has scored here.
75 min: TRY
TRY Penrith Panthers
Scored by Wade Graham. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
Penrith with a stabkick through the line and Wade Graham and Nathan Smith both get fingertips to it. I'm going to say Graham snared that one, and Gordon's got the conversion in a consolation effort for Penrith.
Sydney Roosters 30-12
77 min: Steve Clark's busy night continues as Hayne refers to him in the VIDEO REFEREE box again. A kick across from Pearce finds the Panthers defenders short and Perrett ducks behind them. Not sure on the grounding...
77 min: Oh dear, he's butchered this, hasn't grounded it until the dead ball line. Won't matter too much but disappointing for Perrett not to grab a double... wait on... Decision Pending..... TRY!
79 min: TRY
TRY (Benefit of the Doubt) Sydney Roosters
Scored by Sam Perrett. Conversion attempt by Todd Carney unsuccessful.
Perrett's ruled to have grounded it with Benefit of the Doubt applied by Video Referee Steve Clark. Carney lines it up to put the nail in the Penrith coffin for 2010... but it fades to the right. One minute left.
Sydney Roosters 34-12
80 min: That's FULLTIME at the SFS and it's curtains for Penrith, the Roosters to progress to next week's Suncorp showdown against the Gold Coast.

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