Roosters outclass Panthers 28-12 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters outclass Panthers 28-12

By Liam Fitzgibbon 12/04/2008 10:43:22 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Roosters joined the Gold Coast at the top of the NRL ladder and further enhanced their premiership claims with a convincing 28-12 win over Penrith at CUA Stadium.

Second half tries to Amos Roberts, Craig Fitzgibbon and Mitchell Pearce sealed the win for the visitors after they had led 10-6 at the break in front of a healthy crowd of almost 17,000 at CUA Stadium.

The Roosters did it all without key stars Anthony Minichiello (back), Willie Mason (knee) and David Shillington (alcohol breach) while the Panthers had fullback Rhys Wesser ruled out before kickoff with a corked thigh.

The tri-colours' win, their fourth in the five games to open 2008, put them level with the Titans on eight competition points and continued their fine record under coach Brad Fittler.

Panthers winger Luke Rooney had a nightmare second-half as the home side failed to match the discipline and determination in defence shown in the first 40 minutes.

The Roosters capitalised on two blunders from the former Test winger to score just three minutes after the break through Roberts.

Rooney made a meal of a bomb, giving the Roosters back-to-back sets, and then let a Braith Anasta grubber kick to slide through his hands, allowing Roberts to pounce and score under the posts.

The Roosters had two tries disallowed by the video referee, but were in again in the 63rd minute when Rooney failed to defuse another bomb and Fitzgibbon was on hand to finish the job.

Halfback Mitchell Pearce capped another fine performance which enhanced his claims for the NSW halfback jersey when he stepped his way over for a fine solo try 10 minutes later.

The Panthers grabbed a late consolation when Michael Jennings broke the line and sent Geoff Daniela over.

The only sour point of the loss for the Roosters came through injuries to backrower Setaimata Sa (knee) and prop Mark O'Meley (hamstring), who left the field early in the second half and didn't return.

The first half was much more encouraging for the home fans, and the Panthers looked well in the contest when Souths-bound backrower Luke Lewis ran 40m to score a fine solo try and cancel out Shaun Kenny-Dowall's opener.

But substitute Frank Paul Nuuausala scored his first NRL in the 32nd minute try to send the Roosters into the break four points ahead and their lead was not threatened again.

Fittler praised the way his side performed after the high of last week's 40-12 thumping of the Bulldogs, admitting he was worried the game would be a danger game.

"I'm so happy, we worked so hard last week against the Canterbury ... I was nervous about this all week but I thought our defence tonight was just unreal," Fittler said.

"It wasn't a great game, it was a pretty ugly game, but as a coach I couldn't be happier.

"We've got a pretty committed group in there ... it shows how hard they worked in the pre-season."

Fittler confirmed Sa would undergo scans on what could be a season-ending injury.

"I'm not sure what level, but he's about it I think," Fittler said of the second rower.

The coach said it was always bitter-sweet returning to his former club, with which he won the premiership in 1991.

"I was up there tonight, and there was a few school mates there ... it definitely adds something (coming back), " Fittler said.

Panthers coach Matt Elliott was upbeat despite his side's third loss of the season.

"We probably didn't come up that well from the last game (against the Tigers)," Elliott said.

"We came up with some disappointing plays that cost us but I'm really, really over the moon and pleased and excited about the effort and the attitude that the players are displaying.

"We won't be feeling too bad too often if we keep turning up like that."

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