Sydney Roosters crush poor Canberra Raiders
While one NSW winger was starting the long road to recovery from a broken shoulder, the other was shouldering responsibility for Sydney Roosters' premiership defence with a hat-trick.
Blues flanker Brett Morris is out for the rest of the interstate series after playing on with a serious injury on Wednesday. Daniel Tupou, a debutant on the other wing, nabbed a hat-trick Saturday night as the Tricolours outclassed Canberra 26-12 in an uninspiring contest at Allianz Stadium.
On two of these occasions, the 195cm Tongan international chased bombs from ousted state No.6 James Maloney while on a third it was Maloney's pass that helped him take his tally to eight tries this season.
It was the bitterly disappointing Raiders' fourth loss in five weeks and 15th from their last 16 Moore Park clashes with the Roosters and came on the back of news they had missed out on recruiting from Canterbury Michael Ennis, who is now tipped to join Cronulla.
The Roosters led 18-0 at half-time, with Maloney laying on two tries for Tupou and then scoring one himself.
A ninth-minute bomb by Mitchell Pearce was tapped down by Aiden Guerra, with Blues debutant Tupou dashing over in the south-eastern corner. Maloney's goal made it 6-0.
Ten more minutes of mistake-riddled football followed before an unlucky break cost Canberra more points. Second-rower Josh Papalii was ruled to have interfered in a play-the-ball 10 metres from his own line, something of which replays cleared him.
A quick spread to the left found Maloney and Tupou combining once more, with the pivot's sideline conversion making it 12-0.
Another penalty while defending their own line caused Canberra more embarrassment seven minutes from the break. Maloney needed only throw a dummy before gliding through the stretched defence to score next to the posts and pot an easy conversion.
Both sides had trouble holding onto the ball but the hosts repeatedly found joy through the Green Machine's porous right-side defence during the opening period
Trent Robinson's side looked to have added to its total after half-time when centre Michael Jennings pounced on a loose ball - but the referees called him back for a knock-on.
But the scoreboard did tick over again soon afterwards when a calm Tupou soared over a pack of Raiders to claim Maloney's kick and dot down one more,
Likely Maroons Origin II recruit Anthony Milford looked like the only Canberran capable of a clean break and it was he who finally layer on a Raiders try.
Slipping past a couple of defenders, he offloaded to promising centre Jack Wighton who scored a touchdown which Jarrod Croker converted.
But at 24-6 with 14 minutes left, the results horse had long bolted.
Big Raider Paul Vaughan crashed over with six minutes remaining, video referees Bernard Sutton and Reece Williams over-ruling the on-field officials to flash the green light. That gave the Raiders the barest of sniffs at 12 points down - but they ran out of time. Maloney landed a penalty goal after fulltime.
Sydney Morning Herald