Tuesday 20 March 2018 / 01:53 AM



A blistering start and a rock-solid defensive effort across 80 minutes was all the Sydney Roosters needed to take the spoils in the 215th derby against bitter rivals South Sydney.

THE MATCH: The Roosters enjoyed a dream start – and again it was the burgeoning Mitchell Pearce-Luke Keary combination that set up Latrell Mitchell for the try after just five minutes.

The Tricolours then attacked the Rabbitohs’ left-side defence, with Joseph Manu popping a deft ball for fullback Michael Gordon to steam through for a brilliant try. Gordon’s second sideline conversion pushed the scoreline out to 12-0 after just 14 minutes.

The error-riddled Rabbitohs had plentiful opportunities to strike back, but repeatedly squandered them. Mercifully, they didn’t concede anything more than a Gordon penalty for the remainder of the half, and got off the mark through debutant winger Sitiveni Moceidreke 10 minutes after the break.

But Pearce, Keary and Mitchell were prominent again as Daniel Tupou crossed for the Roosters in the 57th minute, Gordon’s flawless goalkicking restoring a 14-point buffer.

Sam Burgess failed a concussion test, leaving the Rabbitohs their best forward short for the second half, and their desperate attempts to bridge the gap came up empty as the increasingly wet conditions hindered any potential comeback.

While impressive, the Roosters certainly played within themselves; their stiff defence was as significant as their flashes of attacking brilliance.

There wasn’t a great deal to like about Souths’ performance – except that they conceded only one try in the last 65 minutes when a landslide loomed early.

THE MAN: The Roosters backs will hog the highlights package, but Jared Waerea-Hargreaves laid an outstanding platform up front. In 61 minutes, JWH finished second for metres gained (130) and tackles made (37) for the victors. The Kiwi enforcer bundled Bryson Goodwin into touch during the first half, indicating the hunger that made him arguably the game’s best front-rower in 2013 is still bubbling away.

THE MOMENT: ‘Flash’ Gordon rocketed onto Joseph Manu’s unexpected inside ball and sprinted away for the Roosters’ second try, leaving the Rabbitohs shell-shocked. It also emphasised the Chooks are equally dangerous on the right side, after all the attention has been on Keary, Mitchell and Tupou on the left.

Roosters 20 (Latrell Mitchell, Michael Gordon, Daniel Tupou tries; Gordon 4 goals) d. Rabbitohs 6 (Sitiveni Moceidreke try; Adam Reynolds goal).

[YouTube – Sports Tube

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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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