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It wasn't the thrashing many expected but the Roosters did enough to triumph 18-10 against a spirited Warriors line-up this afternoon at Gosford.
At halftime, it looked like the upset was on. Warriors led 10-6, thanks to tries to the departing Ken Maumalo and Eliesa Katoa but it was the Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary that stepped up to snatch away a famous result. He scored himself and a late four-pointer to Joseph Manu gave the Roosters the eight-point win.
Losing four players after this contest, the Warriors set to their work early. Blake Green lifted a kick to the left wing which Katoa knocked into the path of Ken Maumalo, one of those leaving on Monday, to open the scoring at 6-nil. Warriors did spurn a series of chances following that to further their advantage.
After back-to-back weeks of thrashings, the Warriors were resolute in defense. They repelled the Roosters on several occasions before Sitili Tupouniua gathered well to make it 6-6. Warriors weren't dispirited as they nudged ahead just before the break through Katoa, running onto a short pass from Kodi Nikorima to give them a 10-6 lead at the break.
The second half was more an arm wrestle between two sides which weren't at their fluid best tonight. Roosters probed through their stars - James Tedesco, Brett Morris - but it was five eighth Keary that broke the game open.
He peppered the Warriors with short kicks which trapped them behind the line then off a fortunate deflection gathered his own grubber to edge the Roosters ahead 12-10. From there, the Roosters ran downhill but until Manu crossed in the 70th minute, it was uncomfortable for them.
Despite not being at their best, the Premiers moved back into the winner's column and importantly the top four after the eight-point result. For the Warriors, now they lose four of their players who head home to understandably be with their families but it's a long road ahead for them.
Some positive news though, the loan deals of Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings from the Parramatta Eels will give them some depth.
Warriors 10 - Sydney Roosters 18
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Halftime Score: Warriors 10 Sydney Roosters 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Luke Keary
2 points - Eliesa Katoa
1 points - Sitili Tupouniua
Tries: Ken Maumalo, Eliesa Katoa
Conversions: Adam Pompey (1/2)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (18)
Tries: Sitili Tupouniua, Luke Keary, Joseph Manu
Conversions: Kyle Flanagan (3/3)