TWL RD 22 WRAP: SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY AT THE SCG

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The Warriors’ already-slim playoffs hopes took a major nosedive courtesy of a 42-6 thrashing at the hands of Sydney Roosters.

The desperate visitors scored the opening try inside the first five minutes but barely fired a shot thereafter. They managed to restrict the halftime damage to just 12-6, but the patchy premiers found their groove in the second stanza with a further six unanswered tries.

A hot Sydney afternoon and a dry SCG track was always going to suit the firepower-laden Roosters. The Warriors – hampered by an injury to Gerard Beale, which forced halves sensation Chanel Harris-Tavita to spend most of the game in the centres – were outmuscled all over the park and could not stay in the grind.

A one-one-one strip by Chanel Harris-Tavita during the Roosters’ opening set provided the Warriors with an early chance.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck pounced on Blake Green’s slick grubber for first points, beating opposite number James Tedesco to the ball.

The Warriors’ defensive aggression caught the eye from the outset, but the team was forced into a reshuffle when centre Gerard Beale left the field via medicab with a serious leg injury after eight minutes.

Kodi Nikorima came off the bench into the halves and Harris-Tavita shifted to centre, limiting the effectiveness of their dominant playmaker and longest kicker, and robbing the Warriors of their dummy-half interchange option.

The disruption appeared to unsettle the Warriors. Passing became sloppy, mistakes and penalties crept in and go-forward came to a grinding halt. The Roosters finally hit back in the 18th minute through a straightforward backline shift, with Latrell Mitchell crashing over out wide.

The Warriors wrested back momentum for a short time, but the Roosters took their first lead of the match through Joseph Manu, who dived over from dummy-half after Harris-Tavita pulled Tedesco down just short of the line.

The Warriors went close to scoring late in the first half but the Roosters took a six-point advantage into the break via a penalty goal after Adam Blair clipped Victor Radley high.

It seemed only a matter of time before the floodgates would open with the strong breeze at the Roosters’ backs in the second half. The Warriors made just 10 metres in their first set after the interval, summing up their difficulty putting a dent in the Roosters’ defence.

Luke Keary started and finished a 50-metre movement to score at the 45-minute mark and break the teetering Warriors’ backs.

The contest was effectively over withe 25 minutes left following a clever move from a penalty restart.

Rather than take his customary hit-up, front-rower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves served up a pass for Tedesco, who poured through a hole and sprinted away for the Roosters’ fourth try.

The Roosters went 28-6 in front from their next possession courtesy of one of the all-time great falcons.

A bomb cannoned off Cooper Cronk’s melon and Brett Morris eventually crossed in the corner to bump Warriors legend Manu Vatuvei out of the top 10 on the list of premiership’s all-time top try-scorers.

The Warriors were reduced to 12 men thanks to a late shot from Jazz Tevaga on Cronk, earning 10 minutes in the bin and likely a week on the sidelines.

The Tricolours took immediate advantage as tacklers dropped off Mitch Aubusson in a disappointing show of commitment.

Mitchell edged in front of Ken Maumalo at the head of the NRL’s 2019 tryscoring ladder when he finished off superb work from Keary and Angus Crichton in the 69th minute.

Daniel Tupou completed the rout by streaking away in the 79th minute.

Positives for the Warriors were few. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was immense in the first half and the skipper was again head-and-shoulders above his teammates.

The Warriors’ Top 8 chances are being written off – justifiably so. Mathematically, they remain in the mix, but several other results need to fall their way…not to mention winning three demanding encounters against Cronulla, Souths and Canberra.

For all intents and purposes, their 2019 season melted away in the Sydney sun in Round 22.

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