Roosters revive NRL hopes with win over Penrith
SYDNEY (AP) — Boyd Cordner scored two late tries to clinch the Roosters’ 32-12 win over joint leaders Penrith, reviving their premiership campaign in the 19th round of Australia’s National Rugby League.
The Roosters, now in fifth place, scored three tries with a strong wind at their backs in the first half, then held out a strong second half comeback by the Panthers before sealing the match with Cordner’s tries in the 71st and 77th minutes.
The win ended a two-match losing streak for the reigning premiers and gave them their third-straight win over Penrith. It was achieved despite injuries to key backs Daniel Tupou and Michael Jennings which forced the Roosters to switch regular backrowers Aidan Guerra and Mitch Aubusson to the three-quarter line.
The round also saw Melbourne re-enter the top eight with a 28-14 win over Canberra and Souths stay in the top four with a 32-12 win over Parramatta.
The Broncos stayed sixth with a 28-22 win over the seventh-placed Warriors and North Queensland revived its playoffs bid with a 36-18 win over Cronulla which left it in ninth place.
The Roosters led throughout their clash with Penrith, going to halftime with an 18-0 advantage thanks to tries to Aidan Guerra, Mitch Aubusson and Frenchman Remi Casty before turning to face the gale.
Penrith closed the gap with a 58th-minute try to Bryce Cartwright before the Roosters pulled away again with a James Maloney penalty and Cordner’s first try.
The Panthers have managed only two wins this season against teams which were placed inside the top eight at the start of round 19 and that deficiency casts doubt on their premiership credentials.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said the loss of Tupou and Jennings was a setback but “we had our best side out there”.
“That was the idea,” he said. “We’ve got two State of Origin outside backs out but we made up for it with our best side.”
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said his team was showing positive signs as it builds toward the NRL finals after a six-try win over Canberra. Bellamy hailed the Storm’s best defensive effort of the season which ended Canberra’s three-match winning streak.
Melbourne led 14-10 at halftime but clinched the match with a second half double to center Mahe Fonua.
“I was pretty happy with the performance although I thought at times we had a good hold on the game but overplayed our hand,” Bellamy said. “I thought there was some really good signs for us.”
Makeshift center Dale Copley scored two tries within three minutes in the second half as Brisbane rallied from 22-18 down to beat the Warriors 28-22, snapping the New Zealand team’s three-match winning streak.
Brisbane trailed 12-0 after nine minutes but recovered strongly to end their run of three losses.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said the Broncos showed more enthusiasm than his side.
“They needed to win tonight and they were clearly very desperate and sometimes things like that can drive a team, that siege mentality,” he said. “The start of the game probably happened too easy for us and, when the opposition got some momentum, they just rolled through us and we just didn’t show enough resistance.”