Friday 20 October 2017 / 09:08 AM

NRL FRIDAY: DEPLETED CHOOKS HANG ON AGAINST ARCHRIVALS

ROOSTERS 14 d. RABBITOHS 12 @ Allianz Stadium

A short-handed Sydney Roosters side held on for a thrilling two-point win over South Sydney Rabbitohs, who blew a gilt-edged opportunity to spark a late bid for the playoffs.

THE MATCH: Despite missing Origin guns Mitchell Pearce, Dylan Napa, Boyd Cordner and Blake Ferguson, the Roosters made most of the early running and bagged the only try of the first half, scored by Joseph Manu from a Jake Friend grubber.

Michael Gordon, who produced a brilliant try-saver on a flying Alex Johnston, booted a penalty goal to give the home side an 8-0 halftime lead.

Robbie Farah’s erratic night reached a high point when he plunged over for the Rabbitohs’ first try 10 minutes after the resumption, but they failed to maintain any pressure and the Tricolours’ eight-point lead was restored courtesy of Aidan Guerra’s try from close range in the 61st minute.

A brilliant solo try from Super League-bound veteran Bryson Goodwin with 13 minutes left set up a grandstand finish, but sloppy Souths flubbed a number of subsequent go-ahead opportunities as the patched-up Roosters sealed a deserving win on the back of a superb defensive effort.

THE MAN: Kangaroos rep Jake Friend stood up in the absence of the Roosters’ rep quartet, playing the full 80 minutes and racking up a mammoth 61 tackles, as well as chalking up two try-assists – the first with the kick for Manu, and the second via an excellent pass for Guerra.

THE MOMENT: A late call-up at halfback with Connor Watson reverting to the bench, Mitch Cornish put in an impressive display in his first NRL start in almost two years. The ex-Raider made life very difficult for the Rabbitohs’ back-three with his high kicks, exposing rookie winger Braidon Burns and fullback Cody Walker on multiple occasions – including when the duo let a bomb bounce in between them on their own goal-line during the first half.

Sydney Roosters 14 (Joseph Manu, Aidan Guerra tries; Michael Gordon 3 goals) d. South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 (Robbie Farah, Bryson Goodwin tries; Adam Reynolds 2 goals). 

[YouTube – NRL 2017]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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