Sydney Roosters beat Canterbury Bulldogs as Brisbane Broncos hold off Cowboys
Cronk and Tedesco showed why the Roosters are a force to be reckoned with. (AAP: Daniel Munoz)
The Sydney Roosters claimed an 18-point win over Canterbury on Friday night, while Brisbane held on for a 24-20 victory over North Queensland.
First up on the night, Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco showed why the Sydney Roosters are an NRL premiership force, combining to lead their side to a 30-12 win over Canterbury.
The Roosters were leading by 12 midway through the second half when Cronk put fellow new signing Tedesco through a gap before backing him up to finish off a 60-metre movement.
Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson gave his side a chance after crossing in the 62nd minute, but the Roosters sealed their first win of the season with a penalty goal and Ryan Matterson try.
The Cronk-Tedesco connection was easily the highlight for the 12,229 crowd, with Tedesco also scoring his first try for the club and assisting on a Luke Keary four-pointer.
“That was one of the nice moments,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
“Cooper’s known for his support through the middle and being right on the spot there. But it was nice to see James move like he did around the play. We just had better combinations.”
Winger Blake Ferguson was also in form, carrying the ball for a game-high 204 metres, while Tedesco finished with eight tackle busts and 163 metres.
The win is likely to have come at a cost, with Roosters winger Daniel Tupou tearing a pectoral muscle.
The win leaves rookie Bulldogs coach Dean Pay without a win after a challenging two-week initiation that included a first-round loss to defending premiers Melbourne.
The match began ominously for Pay’s men, who had to chase down Tupou following a long-range break from Latrell Mitchell in just the third minute.
But Roosters fans didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring, with Keary and Ferguson crossing twice in the space of five minutes.
The Bulldogs had a chance to hit back when Isaac Liu was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 21st minute, resulting in six straight sets on the Roosters’ line.
Marcelo Montoya thought he had cut the lead for the Bulldogs in the 25th minute, but the bunker overturned the decision after ruling Matt Frawley caught the ball behind a decoy runner.
Dylan Napa made it a three-try lead at halftime when he ran over Jackson to set up Tedesco.
Roosters forward Mitch Aubusson also came off midway through the second half after a copping friendly fire from skipper Jake Friend that required 10 stitches.
Pay said his team remains a work in progress but is growing tired of their performances after allowing the Roosters to dominate field position.
“It’s becoming frustrating that’s for sure, in the first half their back five rolled out of their end too easily,” Pay said.
“We spoke about it, we said we were going to try and nullify that but I just thought we didn’t do a good enough job.”
Broncos recover to claim win
Tom Opacic (right) celebrates with Tevita Pangai jnr who led the Broncos to victory. (AAP: Darren England)
Alarm bells might have been ringing but Brisbane stormed back to form with a 24-20 NRL win over North Queensland.
The Cowboys appeared to have pulled off a great escape when reserve prop Scott Bolton looked try-bound in the 79th minute, only to slam into a goalpost while being tackled and lost the ball.
Written off after their first-round thumping by St George Illawarra, Brisbane’s fortunes did not look to have changed early when the Cowboys jumped to an 8-0 lead after as many minutes and centre Jordan Kahu went down with a broken jaw.
But maligned five-eighth Anthony Milford rediscovered his running game as an under-fire Broncos pack, led by Tevita Pangai, stood tall to help the hosts seal a stirring four-tries-to-three win in front of 46,080 fans.
Six of the past nine NRL derbies have been decided by six points or less, with four of the most-recent six going into extra time.
Another barnstorming finish looked on when the Cowboys fought back from an 18-8 halftime deficit to cut it to 24-20.
Hooker Jake Granville pounced on a loose Johnathan Thurston pass to score in the 71st minute.
Bolton looked to have at least sent another derby into extra time when he ran off Thurston to storm to the tryline, only to ricochet off the upright with desperate defenders all over him.
North Queensland fought back from 18-8 at halftime when Thurston set up Gavin Cooper (61st minute) and hooker Granville.
The Cowboys’ monster pack dominated early, with Melbourne recruit Jordan McLean cleaning up a Thurston kick deflection before somehow stretching out to score in the third minute.
Brisbane looked in trouble as Thurston added another penalty before the hosts turned the match on its head.
The Broncos had a spring in their step after Kahu regathered a short Brisbane line dropout.
Brisbane did not lose momentum despite losing Kahu in the 17th minute after a collision with Te Maire Martin, with Tevita Pangai powering over a minute later to score.
The rest of the first half was one-way traffic as Brisbane scored three tries in nine minutes.