Sydney Roosters remain unbeaten, while the under-pressure Canterbury Bulldogs are 0-2 after a brutal Thursday night encounter between the archrivals.
THE MATCH: The Bulldogs took just two minutes to hit the lead, winger Kerrod Holland crossing out wide after a Roosters error in the first set of the game. The blue-and-whites had an 8-0 advantage before the 10-minute mark as Josh Morris scored in similar circumstances, sprinting to the corner directly from an ill-conceived Shaun Kenny-Dowall offload.
But the Roosters led 16-8 at halftime as Luke Keary brilliantly set up Boyd Cordner for their opener, before Daniel Tupou bagged a double from kicks by Latrell Mitchell and Keary.
Another aerial effort saw Blake Ferguson dot down soon after the break, but the Bulldogs refused to throw in the towel, with Brett Morris scoring a soft try and young forward Adam Elliott busting through to cut the deficit to four points.
A deft Keary pass for Mitch Aubusson to race over in the 71st minute effectively sealed the result, although the Bulldogs set up a grandstand finish when Josh Morris zipped in for his second with four minutes to go.
Both sides were counting a heavy injury toll, with Will Hopoate hospitalised after a nasty head clash with Zane Tetavano, while Kerrod Holland (shoulder) and Blake Ferguson (ribs) all left the field, and Kane Evans was rubbed out of the match after injury his calf in the warm-up.
— NRL (@NRL) 9 March 2017
THE MAN: Luke Keary is streaking ahead early in the buy-of-the-year stakes, producing three try-assists to sink the Dogs. The former Rabbitoh is the ideal foil for Mitchell Pearce, with his work in just two games in the Tricolours already reminiscent of James Maloney’s impact in the No.6 in 2013.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) March 9, 2017
THE MOMENT: The Bulldogs were threatening to overrun the Roosters – who worrying clocked off in the second half for the second game in a row – before Keary’s exquisite short ball for the ever-reliable, chronically underrated Aubusson to run in the match-sealer.