After a drubbing against the Rabbitohs last weekend, the Sydney Roosters travelled to the Minor Premiers, Penrith Panthers to kick off week one of the Finals.
In the fifth minute, the Roosters picked up an early try.
Luke Keary ripped down the short left edge, and pushed the ball onto Josh Morris, who saw the gap and dived over.
The Roosters grabbed a second try very shortly afterwards.
Ill-discipline from Penrith allowed the Roosters to get within five-metres, and this allowed Freddy Lussick to pick the ball up and burrow over Jarome Luai for his first NRL-try.
In the 15th minute, the Panthers hit straight back after the ball was shifted to Josh Mansour on the last tackle, who dived over after being released by Viliame Kikau in the corner.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Penrith levelled up.
Liam Martin attempted to offloaded out the tackle inside the ten-metre line, with the loose ball picked up by Dylan Edwards, who skipped to the right and then put Nathan Cleary through the gap to slide over.
Cleary then showed his class as he grabbed his second.
Luai dribbled a kick through on the last tackle, and slid across the ground the claim the ball on the bounce ahead of Tedesco and dot down to the left of the posts.
With three minutes to go until the break, Cleary grabbed his hat-trick.
Luai ran across the front of the Roosters defensive line before switching with Stephen Crichton who broke through the gap.
Crichton raced away, and with just Tedesco to beat, passed inside to the supporting Cleary for the try.
HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 22-10 Sydney Roosters
The Roosters needed to score next, but a knock-on from Freddy Lussick gave the Panthers the chance to extend their lead.
They couldn’t quite cross for another try, but an offside penalty allowed Cleary to kick the Panthers 14-points ahead.
The penalty struck the upright, but did land in the hands of Api Koroisau.
After peppering the Roosters again, the last tackle kick was chipped over the top by Cleary was knocked backwards by Luai to Tyrone May.
May then shifted the ball quickly to Crichton who beat the tackle of Luke Keary for the score.
The Roosters did manage to pull one back a score with 28 minutes to go.
Kyle Flanagan took the ball to the line, and pushed the ball to Tedesco who dummied, and stepped back across the grain to score.
In Dylan Edwards attempt to tackle, he accidently caught the head of Sitili Tupouniua, who was on the ground behind where Tedesco crossed.
The Roosters were uplifted after that score.
After a kick from Flanagan was misjudged by everybody, and even bounced off the head of Cordner on the floor, before being grounded by Josh Morris for the try.
With a lead of just six points, and less than ten minutes to go, they game could go any way.
The Panthers were pushing for the win, and after Luai went close, they reset themselves and Cleary struck a drop-goal for a seven-point lead.
After Brent Naden claimed the short kick-off before it went ten-metres, the Roosters kicked themselves to within 20-metres.
A few tackles later, Keary through a floated flat pass to Angus Crichton and the big second-rower crashed through the line to score.
Flanagan converted to make it 29-28 with 90 seconds on the clock.
The Roosters worked themselves into field goal position but Keary’s attempted to level the scores was touched in the air.
FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 29-28 Sydney Roosters
Edwards, Mansour, Naden, Crichton, To’o, Luai, Cleary, Tamou, Koroisau, Fisher-Harris, Kikau, Martin, Yeo
Interchanges: May, Capewell, Leota, Tetevano
Tries: Mansour, Cleary (3), Crichton
Goals: Cleary (4/6)
Tedesco, Tupou, J. Morris, Manu, B. Morris, Keary, Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Lussick, Taukeiaho, Cordner, Crichton, Liu
Interchanges: Tupouniua, Collins, Butchers, Ubusson
Tries: J. Morris (2), Lussick, Tedesco, Crichton
Goals: Flanagan (4/5)
Referee: G. Sutton
Touch Judges: C. Butler, T. Smith
Video Referee: S. Chiddy
Image Source: @NRL (twitter)