Roosters pencil-in home semi-final as they beat Sharks

A much rotated Sydney Roosters side welcomed the Cronulla Sharks to the SCG, as both sides looked to improve their standing in the top-eight.

After just five minutes, the Roosters took the lead, and it was a fairytale start.

The home side attacked the right edge, and Joseph Manu pushed a short flat pass to Mitchell Aubusson to score on his 303rd appearance.

The Sharks managed to hit straight back as Shaun Johnson took the ball to the line, and passed across Braden Hamlin-Uele to Siosifa Talakai to power over and score.

Just after the 15th minute, the Sharks were penalised for offside on their own 20-metre line.

This allowed Kyle Flanagan to kick for the posts and give them a slender two-point lead.

A second Roosters try followed shortly after thanks to good skills from Manu and Luke Keary.

The ball managed to reach Joseph Manu, and despite plenty of covering defenders, he beat the attempts to stop him and powered over to score.

Just before the half-hour mark, Isaac Liu broke through the middle of the Cronulla defence, specifically Toby Rudolf and Jack Williams.

With just Will Kennedy to beat, the loose-forward passed to Luke Keary to finish off the move.

With just five minutes until the break, a fourth Roosters try seemed to come via Aubusson.

He seemed to not quite gather the ball cleanly, but on second viewing the centre managed to hold the ball against his side before touching down.

Katoa made a great break for the Sharks to put them on the front foot towards the end of the half.

With the Roosters scrambling to get back, The ball was shifted to Ronaldo Mulitalo who dived over to score in the corner.

HALF-TIME: Sydney Roosters 24-12 Cronulla Sharks

The Sharks started the slightly brighter of the two sides, but after nine minutes, Johnson dropped to the floor clutching his right ankle, and left the field.

With 25 minutes remaining, Josh Dugan picked up an injury by the Roosters posts, and the Roosters targeted the Cronulla left-sided defence.

Brett Morris made a line break down the wing, and managed to fling a pass back on the inside to Luke Keary who raced away and extended the lead.

The injury worries continued for the Sharks as Royce Hunt crumbled in a tackle just 15 metres from the Sydney try-line.

That couldn’t stop Cronulla from crossing as Blayke Brailey picked the ball up from the ruck and popped it onto Hamlin-Uele who crashed over and cut the gap to 12.

Sione Katoa then converted to make it 28-18 with 11 minutes remaining.

However, the Sharks were soon pushed back once again thanks to a huge effort from Joseph Manu who picked up from dummy-half and burrowed beneath three Cronulla defenders to score.

Manu wouldn’t finish the game on the pitch though as he was sent to the sin-bin for multiple penalties at the ruck.

Cronulla were still pushing for a late score, but unfortunately, Connor Tracey’s kick was too heavy.

FULL-TIME: Sydney Roosters 34-18 Cronulla Sharks


Sydney Roosters

Manu, Tupou, J. Morris, Aubusson, B. Morris, Keary, Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Lussick, Collins, Tupouniua, Crichton, Liu

Interchanges: Butcher, SB. Williams, Faamausili, Hutchinson

Tries: Aubusson (2), Tupou, Keary (2), Manu

Goals: Flanagan (5/6)

Sin-Bins: Manu

Cronulla Sharks

Kennedy, Katoa, Dugan, Ramien, Mulitalo, Tracey, Johnson, Hamlin-Uele, Brailey, Woods, Nikora, Talakai, Rudolf

Interchange: J. Williams, Fifita, Hunt, Sorensen

Tries: Talakai, Mulitalo, Hamlin-Uele

Goals: Johnson (2/2), Katoa (1/1)

Referee: B. Cummins

Touch Judges: P. Henderson, B. Sharpe

Video Referee: S. Chiddy

Image Source: @NRL (twitter)

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