Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Fourteen tries and the highest scoring game so far in the 2003 NRL competition, and the Roosters came out on top of the Sea Eagles by 50-26.
With the Sea Eagles putting on a fine performance both defensively and on attack, they were deserved leaders at half time by 18-16.
The second half brought a drastic turn around with the patience of the Roosters showing through, leaving the Manly side scoreless in the second half until halfway through, and piling on the points in the process.
A great performance by Brad Fittler in his 400th senior game helped him steer his side to put on 50 points against a side who's defence was very solid at times, but as mentioned, patience prevails.
Scorers: SEA EAGLES 26 Tries: Lima, MacDougall 2, Creary, Donald Goals: Walker (3/4), Williamson (0/1) defeated by ROOSTERS 50 Tries: C Walker 2, Wing 2, Crocker, Robertson, Cross, Fittler, Morley Goals: Fittler (0/1), Crocker (7/8)
Sunday 20 July 2003 3:00 PM Brookvale Oval Referee: B Harrigan
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 - B Fittler (Roosters) 2 - M Crocker (Roosters) 1 - C Randall (Manly)
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!
5th min: NEWS - A 40/20 by Fittler sets the scene
5th min: TRY - Chris Walker for Roosters. Too much speed close to the line and the Roosters get the points, Fittler's 40/20 making the difference. Fittler's conversion is a shocker, hooking it badly to the left. Roosters 4-0
9th min: TRY - Lima for Sea Eagles. Great go forward by the home side. A flat pass by Ferris to a steaming Lima who was unstoppable and scores under the posts. Video ref is used in case he was held up, gives it 'ref's call' and is awarded. Walker gets the easy conversion. Sea Eagles 6-4
11th min: TRY - MacDougall for Sea Eagles. A blatant forward pass is not picked up by any officials. Manly, playing to the whistle keep the ball alive and score. Walker from 20 metres out, gets the conversion. Manly 12-4
16th min: NEWS - Roosters hot on attack following a penalty, unfortunately Lomu is held up across the line
17th min: NEWS - The Roosters look to have scored but the video ref confirms Fittler had passed the ball after the tackle had been completed, and is penalised. Sea Eagles 12-4
23rd min: TRY - Wing for Roosters. A lot of possession going the Roosters way. A soft tackle on Wing and he's through under the posts. Crocker has no trouble from out in front. Sea Eagles 12-10
26th min: NEWS - Manly on the fifth tackle get a penalty right on the line after Hegarty (Roosters) shielded Byrne for the catch from a high kick by Ben Walker to his winger
28th min: TRY - Creary for Sea Eagles. After not looking to make many metres in their set close to the line, the Manly side come away with the points when Creary ducks under his defender. Walker converts another. Sea Eagles 18-10
34th min: NEWS - The Roosters close to scoring after Fittler choses to run on the last. Moving through 4 sets of hands, is dropped forward on the last
35th min: TRY - Crocker for Roosters. A mistake by Manly hands possession straight back to the Roosters. A classic left foot side step by Fittler sets up Crocker to get across the line. Crocker converts his own try. Sea Eagles 18-16
HALF TIME: Great defence by Manly sees them in the lead deservedly at the break
46th min: NEWS - Solid start to the half by both sides
47th min: TRY - Robertson for Roosters. A poor pass on the fifth tackle for Manly sees them back to halfway. The Rooster patiently go forward, Fittler puts Robertson into a perfect hole and he's over the line unopposed. Crocker adds the 2 points. Roosters 22-18
51st min: TRY - Cross for Roosters. Manly bomb a penalty on halfway and hand possession straight back to the Roosters. Patience prevails yet again and Cross is over out wide and manages to come round closer to the posts. Ferris (Manly) down in back play. Crocker adds the extra 2 points. Roosters 28-18
56th min"TRY - Fittler for Roosters. A break by Wing, back up by the others in the team, and Fittler's through the gap easily. Crocker has no trouble with the conversion. Roosters 34-18
58th min: NEWS - Cross (Roosters) flies down the sideline, only to have the pass go forward to Flannery
60th min: TRY - Wing for Roosters. A shocking chip through by Ben Walker goes off the side of his boot, Wing nabs it and runs 75 metres to score. Crocker gets an easy kick. Roosters 40-18
62nd min: TRY - Donald for Sea Eagles. Finally the scoring deadlock is broken for Manly in the 2nd half. Ben Walker puts a high kick out to his winger, Grothe, just on the field for the Roosters, misses the catch, and Donald is over. Walker misses the conversion. Roosters 40-22
68th min: TRY - Morley for Roosters. Flat attack is suddenly dispelled when Morley breaks through the defensive line and scores his first try for 2003. Crocker from 10 metres in from the sideline, misses the conversion. Roosters 44-22
72nd min: TRY - C Walker for Roosters. Walker starts the movement with a great bust through the line, and then is there to finish off the same movement with a try. Crocker adds the 2 points from right in front. Roosters hit the 50 points, 50-22
75th min: NEWS - Randall (Manly) unlucky to get a try when he loses the ball over the line from a pass by Menzies
76th min: TRY - MacDougall for Sea Eagles. Manly kick on the third tackle with a beautifully weighted kick in goal which MacDougall wins the race to put pressure on and gets his 2nd of the game. Williamson from right on the sideline, misses the kick. Roosters 50-26
78th min: NEWS - McGuiness (Manly) on report for a suspected spear tackle on Byrne
FULL TIME: A 14 try game, the highest scoring game so far in 2003. Roosters win 50-26