Roosters narrowly pip Souths 22-20 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters narrowly pip Souths 22-20

By Adrian Warren 29/08/2008 09:41:49 PM Comments (0)

The jittery Sydney Roosters barely survived a case of the staggers to consolidate fourth spot on the NRL ladder with a 22-20 win over local rival South Sydney at Sydney Football Stadium on Friday night.

Beaten in their last three starts, the Roosters could have dropped to as low as seventh had they lost again and the three teams immediately below them all won.

With playmakers halves Mitchell Pearce and Braith Anasta pulling the strings, the Roosters scored the first five tries to lead 22-0 shortly after the break.

The Rabbitohs, who have produced several stirring, come-from-behind wins in the second half of the season, almost pulled off another miracle.

They piled on 20 unanswered points in the second half after tries to fullback Nathan Merritt five-eight John Sutton, hooker Issac Luke and winger Luke Capewell.

The potential game-tying conversion by halfback Chris Sandow, from close to the left hand touchline, cannoned off the left hand upright.

Roosters veteran Craig Fitzgibbon landed just one of his five kicks, though the one he did make was his 600th for the club.

Desperate to regain some winning form, the Roosters looked well on the way to achieving their aim as they bolted to a 14-0 halftime lead.

They scored three first half tries through winger Amos Roberts, centre Mitchell Aubusson, and second rower Anthony Tupou, though there was a suspicion of a forward pass in the leadup to the first two four-pointers.

Young halfback Pearce, who had looked a little lacklustre in recent weeks, looked more threatening, especially in the first half.

He set up the first try in the 14th minute with a kick which centre Setaimata Sa knocked back to hooker James Aubusson, who passed to Roberts.

The slippery winger was given the all clear by video ref Bill Harrigan after squeezing over in the right hand corner, though it appeared there might have been a forward pass earlier in the move, which also featured some great handling by Anasta and Willie Mason.

Five-eighth Anasta set up both of the Roosters other tries with pin-point passes.

His perfectly floated pass put Aubusson over in the 32nd minute and he then drew two defenders to put Tupou over in the final minute of the half.

The Roosters missed a number of other chances to build an even bigger lead, but poor passing and handling let them down.

The Rabbitohs looked sharp in the early minutes, but couldn't capitalise on a couple of half chances midway through the half.

The Roosters appeared to have an unassailable lead ten minutes into the second half after further tries to fullback Sam Perrett and Anasta.

By they couldn't sustain their dominance and tired in defence against an energetic Souths side sparked by Sutton.

He set up Merritt for his 12th try of the season and scored the next himself after Perrett dropped the ball in his in goal area.

Luke scampered through some fatigued defence for a solo try and Capewell crossed inside the last five minutes to set up the dramatic climax.

Souths almost pulled of a 40-20 kick in the final minute to give them possession close to the line, but Harrigan ruled against it.

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