Stuart's blast inspires Roosters win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart's blast inspires Roosters win

By Adrian Proszenko 30/07/2006 06:51:40 PM Comments (0)

A blunt halftime address from coach Ricky Stuart sparked the Sydney Roosters' 40-20 come-from-behind win against North Queensland at Aussie Stadium.

The Cowboys exploded out of the blocks, racing to a 16-0 lead after 24 minutes, but last year's grand finalists didn't score again until the final minute of the match.

In between, the Roosters piled on six unanswered tries in an amazing turnaround, with departing playmaker Brett Finch the main architect of the comeback.

Given permission to join Parramatta despite being contracted to the Bondi Junction club next season, Finch scored a try and ignited an attack which had not scored a point in 122 minutes of football.

The Roosters were a different side after the main break, with players revealing that Stuart's halftime address had struck a chord.

"Sitting in the box there, seeing the same people there in the crowd each week ... They're our loyal people and at the moment we have only got our loyal people turning up, God love them," Stuart said after the match.

"At 16-0, I was feeling for them as much as the players.

"They want to see us do well, they want to see you win ... you could see how much loyalty there is from those people in tough times.

"At halftime, I said take yourself out of the equation - I said 'we owe our fans something'.

"The fans do mean something to the players, the fans do mean something to the club."

Only 7,617 diehard fans attended the match, but they found their voice in the second stanza.

Roosters centre Ryan Cross admitted the mood was dark behind the posts after the Cowboys stormed to the front.

"To be honest, we were pretty down, it was 'here we go again'," Cross said.

"At halftime we talked about the fans ... they come out every week and they haven't had much to cheer about, we've won only one out of our last eight."

The home side raised hopes of a comeback with a vital try to rookie fullback Shaun Foley just four minutes before the break.

The breakthrough sparked a remarkable comeback, with Sydney scoring two quick tries after the resumption - to centre Iosia Soliola and then David Shillington - to steal an 18-16 lead by the 49th minute.

From there the floodgates opened, as the Roosters stacked on 40 points without answer to jeopardise the Cowboys' finals aspirations.

"I thought he played real well, I was very happy for him too, it's good to see him get a good game under his belt," Stuart said of Finch's performance.

Cowboys coach Graham Murray lamented his side's inability to convert a bright start into a win.

"It's weight of possession, I can't explain that too much, but we only had 11 sets in the second half," Murray said.

"I don't want to simplify it too much, but we just didn't have enough ball."

In further bad news for the Cowboys, forwards Jacob Lillyman and Paul Bowman were placed on report for high tackles, with luckless Cross on the receiving end on both occasions.

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