Roosters v Warriors, Joseph Suaalii, James Tedesco, Joey Manu, Shaun Johnson, live blog, teams, score, videos

The Warriors got out to a red-hot start but it was the Roosters that got the chocolates on Easter Sunday with a 22-14 win at the SCG.

Their first points came through a Reece Walsh penalty goal after James Tedesco held Addin Fonua-Blake down as he attempted to play the ball.

Five minutes later they scored through young gun winger Edwards Kosi.

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Their joy was short-lived though with gun forward Josh Curran leaving the field with a knee injury midway through the first half.

However, according to Fox League sideline reporter Jake Duke, Curran refused to rule himself out of the remainder of the game.

“They were about to put ice on that right knee but he refused it and is back on the bike peddling… not officially out yet,” he said.

The Roosters finally got on the board in the 28th minute. The Tricolours spread the ball left off the scrum and Daniel Tupou casually caught a Kevin Naiqama ball with one hand to score.

The Warriors then got a timely boost when Curran shook off the knee injury and came back onto the field.

“A miraculous recovery from Josh Curran, he was almost done,” Duke said.

The Roosters leveled the scores early in the second half after Warriors hooker Wayde Egan was penalized for knocking the ball out in a tackle.

They then took the lead for the first time in the game through Kevin Naiqama. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak dropped a Luke Keary bomb, opening the door for Fletcher Baker to scoop up the ball and pass to Naiqama.

Eight minutes later the Roosters were in again, this time through Sam Walker who twisted out of a tackle to slam down the ball. The teenager five-eighth slotted the conversion to take his side out to an 20-8 lead.

But the Warriors kept themselves in the game with a stunning try four minutes later. Reece Walsh broke through the middle before putting up a curious looking cross field kick for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to score.

The Roosters extended their lead with a penalty goal after Adam Pompey was penalized for impeding with the play the ball.

BIG HITS

FONUA-BLAKE ‘OUTSTANDING’ IN BATTLE OF THE BIG MEN

The stage was set for a mouth-watering battle in the middle between Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Addin Fonua-Blake – and it was the Warriors star that came out on top.

With Matt Lodge ruled out, it was all up to Fonua-Blake to lead up front and the giant enforcer didn’t disappoint.

Fonua-Blake was busy in the first half and even came close to scoring the first try of the day after breaking through the Roosters.

“He beats five defenders with just sheer power,” Fox League analyst Corey Parker said of the run.

“Addin Fonua-Blake has been outstanding for the Warriors, he single-handedly carried his team in the first half. He’s certainly given his team a platform to play off,” Parker added.

Shane Flanagan agreed that the 26-year-old was “outstanding” but also thought the Warriors’

very, very good” halves deserved recognition as well.

“Shaun Johnson’s kicking game has been spot on and (Chanel) Harris-Tavita has been good out the back and obviously (he) set up the first try.”

Fonua-Blake finished with a team-high 139 running meters, seven tackle busts, one linebreak and 25 tackles with zero misses. Meanwhile, Waerea-Hargreaves ran for 94 meters, had one tackle busts and made 15 tackles with one miss.

It came after Parker predicted Fonua-Blake to really challenge the Roosters champion.

“(Waerea-Hargreaves) has his hands full with, in my opinion, one of the top three props in the game in Addin Fonua-Blake,” he said.

“He’s only 26-years old, he’s got his best football under his feet right now but he’s just a big powerful athlete that can play with the ball and without the ball.

“Addin Fonua-Blake has been in sublime form and with no Matt Lodge today more responsibility will fall on his shoulders. It should be a great contest through the middle.”

WARRIORS’ DEFENSE GETS BIG TICK

The scoreline will tell a different story but the Warriors’ defense was the biggest talking point of the first half.

They went into the break with an 8-6 lead and total control of the contest.

Coach Nathan Brown said pre-game that he feels the team has “improved in certain areas” and Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach believes that area is defence.

“They’ve got a new resolve in their defense the Warriors this season,” he said.

“They talk about their big improvement of the team, I reckon it’s their defence.

“They’ve tackled so well in this game and Johnson gives them that little variation in their kicking also once he runs the footy they’re a much better side.”

Parker agreed that the Warriors had shown “defensive resolve” – particularly in the first half – and effectively shut down the big-name Roosters.

Joey Manu was indestructible against the Broncos last week but he only made 44 running meters and had zero linebreaks or tackle busts against the Warriors.

“They’ve done a terrific job in being able to keep the stars of the Roosters quiet,” Parker said.

The Warriors finished with 16 missed tackles as opposed to the Roosters’ 24.

GRILLS’ FIRST HALF WOES

The Roosters have suffered first half woes in back-to-back weeks now and Trent Robinson will need to find the solution quick smart.

There was plenty to play for given the entire 2002 premiership-winning team was on deck to watch the game in a 20-year celebration of their grand final. But today’s Roosters looked lackluster in the first 40 and although they clicked into the gear in the second half they were a long way off what many expected to see this season.

They went into the half time break down by two points and on the backfoot in regards to game control.

It was deja vu after trailing by 10 at half time against the Broncos last week.

However last week they were able to hit the reset button at half time and come out in the second 40 to score four unanswered tries and snatch the win.

They did somewhat reset again this week, scoring two tries in the second half in Sunday’s clash – and winning – but they never really found any momentum.

That won’t be so much an issue in the next three weeks when they face the Dragons, Bulldogs and Titans. But the four-week period after that includes clashes with the Eels, Panthers, Sharks and Storm.

TEAMS

Grids: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 4. Joseph Manu 5. Kevin Naiqama 23. Joseph Suaalii 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 24. Drew Hutchison 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Nat Butcher 16. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 9. Sam Verrills 11. Nat Butcher 15. Fletcher Baker 22. Daniel Suluka-Fifita. Replacement player: 18. Lachlan Lam

Warriors team: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Adam Pompey 5. Edward Kosi 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 16. Aaron Pene 11. Euan Aitken 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Josh Curran 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Bunty Afoa 17. Eliesa Katoa 18. Taniela Otukolo. Replacement player: 25. Valingi Kepu

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