The Sydney Roosters have held on to third place on the ladder, cruising to a 20-12 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs.
It was a scratchy win for the defending premiers but the side had little problem dispatching the Bulldogs, who are languishing in 15th on the ladder.
The Roosters led 14-0 at the break and 20-6 with 20 minutes remaining as they were never really troubled by the Bulldogs.
The problem was clear at halftime with Geoff Toovey unleashing a huge slam on Canterbury prop Dylan Napa.
Napa moved to the Bulldogs at the end of last season and has had far from the perfect season.
A sex tape scandal before the season started hit hard in the pre-season before Napa was under fire in State of Origin game II, playing just 23 minutes before he was taken off the field, without making it back on.
He was then dropped for final Origin match.
It’s not been Napa’s year.Source:AAP
Coming up against his old side, Toovey slammed Napa again for not aiming up.
Asked who had won the battle of the representative props with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Dylan Napa, Manly great Geoff Toovey said there was a huge gap between the two.
“I think Jared has easily,” Toovey said.
“They’ve both given away a couple of penalties each, but I think Napa has been directly or indirectly involved in giving away eight points.
“He misses the tackle, Jared offloads … he’s planting his feet, he’s not looking where he’s going.
“All of a sudden he misses the tackle, and then there’s the late one.
“He’s trying to be an enforcer out there, but you’ve got to be an enforcer without being ill-disciplined.”
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Brett Finch said the Napa issue was fatal for the Dogs, despite keeping the Roosters to 20 points.
“It’s a fine line — he’s your senior player, he’s a rep player,” he said. “You can’t be giving one of the best teams in the competition eight points it’s too hard, especially where the Dogs are at the moment.”
Braith Anasta agreed the Bulldogs just didn’t have the quality to shake the confidence of a team like the Roosters.
“If there was ever a chance of an upset, it was probably in the first 20 minutes. Their inability to be creative, they haven’t made a line break (by halftime), they haven’t looked like scoring, I feel sorry for them. I know this is being brutally honest but they’re two to three key players short on their roster of doing any damage against a high quality team like the Roosters. It’s just the reality.”
The Bulldogs need more star power.Source:Getty Images
While the Bulldogs won the second half, it was not enough as the closes they could get was eight points.
The win may have hurt the Roosters however with Sio Siua Taukeiaho limping from ANZ Stadium in the 67th minute in worrying signs for the Roosters’ prop given his history of knee injuries.
Front-row partner Waerea-Hargreaves might become a victim of the NRL’s crackdown on late shots after being put on report for a hit on Jack Cogger.
The Roosters went into the match looking to reinforce their status as premiership favourites but, outside of the opening 30 minutes, never really impressed.
Before last week’s 48-10 dismantling of Newcastle, the Roosters had won only two of five games during a difficult State of Origin period and because of a taxing injury toll.
The Roosters looked like they were toying with the Dogs in the first half and, while they took a 14-0 advantage into the break, it could have been much more.
Cooper Cronk was denied because of a James Tedesco forward pass and Joey Manu put his foot on the sideline as they blew two golden chances in the opening six minutes.
But Tedesco opened his side’s account when he finished off a stellar play started by a skilful Waerea-Hargreaves offload.
The Roosters did enough to get the points.Source:AAP
And when Manu ran over the top of Kerrod Holland, the Roosters’ machine was showing signs of hitting full stride.
But the Dogs were let back into the match, enjoying 67 per cent of possession and winning the penalty count 8-2 in the second half which allowed Reimis Smith to give his side their first points.
But when Lachlan Lewis, playing his first game back from an ankle injury, dropped the ball cold from the kick-off, Brett Morris crossed from the next set to make it 20-6.
Despite being out of the contest for most of the match, the Dogs provided a few nervous moments when Will Hopoate flew high to reel in a Lewis bomb and give Smith his second of the day but the Roosters still did enough to hold on against the 15th-placed Bulldogs. Canterbury enforcer Dylan Napa (late shot) and Renouf To’omaga (crusher tackle) will both be scrutinised by the match review committee.
— with AAP
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