Keary doesn’t miss a beat as Roosters win
THE Roosters are back on track after a hard-fought 24-16 win over Wests Tigers, as Luke Keary starred on his return at Bankwest Stadium.
After returning from the half-time break behind 12-8 on the scoreboard, the Tigers crossed the line twice in seven minutes to claw back the lead.
But midway through the second half, momentum went the way of the premiers and from there the Tigers struggled to blunt the Roosters' ascendancy.
Any chance of a comeback at the death from the Tigers was snuffed out after the referee ruled the Roosters hadn't played at a loose ball deep in their attacking zone with three minutes left on the clock.
"That's footy," Tigers coach Michael Maguire said after the match.
"We had an opportunity there at half-time. Little things like that you have to work hard to get those things going your way.
"It was an interesting call, that one.".
Luke Keary made a successful return from an extended lay-off after suffering a serious concussion against Newcastle back in round 11 - it was Keary's fourth concussion in just 15 months.
It was fitting the five-eighth took the first hit-up of the night and then displayed some great vision, throwing a grenade- like pass over the Tigers' defence for the Roosters' second try. Keary's kicking game showed no rust despite his absence since May.
The interest surrounding Keary's heavy head knock was heightened after a report from researchers and clinicians from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital revealed evidence of CTE had been discovered in two former NRL players.
"I thought he was pretty good for six weeks off. Top end for Luke, probably not, but it was a good start," Roosters coach Trent Robinson after the match.
He also confirmed that Keary had pulled up unscathed.
"Yes, I've talked to him but I haven't asked him how he's feeling, but I'd say he'd be happy he got through that game."
KEARY, MITCHELL CONNECTION
The Roosters played conservatively in the opening 40 minutes, but when they shifted the ball in the second half they were rewarded - especially when Keary and Mitchell combined.
The lethal duo found their mojo and the two combined to create consecutive tries.
First a move left through Keary put Mitchell into a gap with Victory Radley in support to score the four-pointer. Keary then fed Mitchell the ball in the Tigers' attacking zone and the centre powered through the defence to score one himself.
Robinson slammed the talk about Mitchell needing Keary to get back to his best.
"I thought it was poor that comment, to be honest. I think Latrell creates a lot for himself. He doesn't need to really on anybody else. But we love having them as a combination," Robinson said.
The Tigers levelled the score 12-all early in the first half on the back of some brilliance from both fullback Corey Thompson and five-eighth Benji Marshall.
Thompson was able to create a quick play-the-ball on the right edge after a line break down the field.
But the move left was executed by Marshall, who performed three dummies to draw in the Roosters' defence for Paul Momrovski to score.
Then Marshall put in a perfectly placed grubber for Esan Marsters, who managed to ground the ball and put the Tigers ahead, albeit momentarily in the second half.
"I've had a couple of weeks with Benji when I was overseas with him and I saw the passion for the Kiwi jersey, but there is a hell of a lot of passion in the Wests Tigers jersey," Maguire said.
The lush green turf at Bankwest Stadium has come under scrutiny for being "like an ice-skating rink" and contributing to a less than attractive brand of rugby league.
Despite a heavy downpour in Sydney on Friday, the playing surface didn't seem to cause players too much difficulty.
Tigers legend Marshall admitted his side had prepared during the week for the slipperiness of the field.
LISTEN! Matty is back with Finchy and Kenty to talk Origin teams, Sticky's best feuds, playmaker protection and the day Matty met Liam and Noel Gallagher.
"It's very slippery, especially when it gets wet. It gets dewy. We've made a big emphasis this week on making sure we have the right boots. All it takes is one slip to cost you the game," he said.
But the surface didn't seem to have an impact on last night's game with a total of seven tries scored.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 24 (N Butcher L Mitchell V Radley D Tupou tries L Mitchell 4 goals) bt WESTS TIGERS 16 (E Marsters R Matterson P Momirovski tries E Marsters 2 goals) at Bankwest Stadium. Referee: Henry Perenara, Matt Noyen. Crowd: 13,918.