All eyes at GIO Stadium were on the return of Sonny Bill Williams as the Sydney Roosters took an 18-6 victory over the Canberra Raiders.
The first half was a quality affair with both sides matching each other in intensity and in skill at stages. The Roosters opened the scoring after just seven minutes when poor ball security put the Raiders under deep pressure. The Raiders were caught short of numbers and the Roosters took advantage of that down their left and James Tedesco was able to get over the line.
The Raiders were matching the intensity of the Roosters and soon after the Raiders were on the board when John Bateman kicked through for himself after being on the end of a tap back and Bateman's effort put Canberra on the board, then level soon after Croker's conversion.
Discipline with the ball was becoming an enemy of the Raiders as they kept inviting pressure despite dominating the possession stats and they fell behind in the 24th minute when Daniel Tupou soared through the air when Kyle Flanagan's kick landed on a dime for Tupou to dive over Nick Cotric.
Neither side could break their opponents' line in the remainder of the first half although on the stroke of half-time the Roosters were given what will be a nervous 12 hour wait when Luke Keary was put on report for a crusher tackle.
The second half was a more dominant affair for the Roosters as the Raiders couldn't really fire any shots at the Roosters defence. The Roosters were able to tap into the insecurities at the back of the Raiders as they put the pressure on with the high kicks.
The first points of the second half though came through a Kyle Flanagan penalty goal that he didn't look like missing even though it came from over 40m out. The biggest moment of the game for many came just short of the hour mark when Sonny Bill Williams came onto the field which marked his NRL return. The Raiders looked to build momentum but poor ball security cost them and it was the Roosters who were able to go back upfield and create pressure. The Roosters extended their lead just after the hour mark when James Tedesco created a little bit of magic when he kicked through for himself but a ricochet landed perfectly for Tedesco to clean up and score and following the conversion, the Roosters lead by 12.
Despite not being able to score anymore points, the Roosters continued to push the Raiders defence but the closest they were able to come was when Kyle Flanagan sent a field goal attempt flush into the left uprights.
Next weekend, the Canberra Raiders head across to the South Coast as they take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium on Saturday afternoon whilst the Roosters return back to the SCG as they take on the Newcastle Knights.