Despite both sides registering a loss in round ten, the Sydney Roosters were massive favourites to take the two ladder points from the New Zealand Warriors who could only muster a single win in their last five outings. There were deep problems in the Warriors camp with players deciding to return home to their families after their extended time in isolation in Australia.
The Warriors do have a good track record in this fixture but took a beating in the encounters in the last couple of years and the bookies and pundits suggested that this would be no different as the Roosters looked to leapfrog the Newcastle Knights into fourth spot.
The Roosters were without the services of Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton who were replaced by Nat Butcher and Poasa Faamausili while the Warriors made three changes from last weekends side with Adam Pompey, Chanel Harris-Tavita and Lachlan Burr in for Paasi, Herbert and Egan.
The Warriors got off to a terrific start when then took full advantage of a set restart when Kodi Nikorima put Ken Maumalo over in the corner for the opener. Adam Pompey smacked his conversion through the uprights for a 6-0 lead.
A fantastic tackle from the Warriors kept Sitili Tupouniua from grounding on thirteen to deny the Roosters their first try and seconds later Siosiua Taukeiaho was also denied by a determined defence.
On seventeen Matt Ikuvalu caused enough problems for David Fusitu’a under the high ball and the ball came loose for Tupouniua to pick up the loose ball and carry two metres to score. Kyle Flanagan slotted the ball between the uprights to level the scores.
Two minutes from the interval the Warriors edged back in front when Eliesa Katoa forced the ball onto the ground, after taking a Kodi Nikorima back handed pass, under a pile of tacklers. Pompey was unable to add the conversion in the rain but his side had a shock 10-6 lead at the break.
Ten minutes after the restart the Rooster hit the front. Luke Keary put in a grubber which was deflected off a Warriors boot and the half-back was able to pick the ball up off the floor and go over for the four pointer. Flanagan added the conversion to edge his side into a two-point lead.
There was finally daylight on sixty-nine as Joseph Manu took the ball from acting half-back, pushed away the defenders and scrambled over the line for a four pointer. Flanagan added the conversion for 18-10, the game had drifted away from a brave Warriors.
Despite the Warriors best efforts the Roosters picked up the win which lifted them up to fourth in the table. A low scoring encounter with plenty of bad blood between the players kept the crowd interested and the Roosters will class it as 'job done'.
New Zealand Warriors: Tuivasa-Sheck, Fusitu’a, Pompey (G), Hiku, Maumalo (T), Nikorima, Green, Taunoa-Brown, Lawton, Hetherington, Katoa (T), Harris, Tevaga. Subs: Harris-Tavita, Blair, Papali’I, Burr.
Sydney Roosters: Tedesco, Ikuvalu, Morris J, Manu (T), Morris B, Keary (T), Flanagan (3G), Warea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Aubusson, Tupouniua (T), Liu. Subs: Lam, Butcher, Collins, Faamausili.
Referee: Chris Sutton.
Ground: Central Coast Stadium, Gold Coast.