Wests Tigers have battled bravely but gone down 40-18 to the Sydney Roosters on Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of 10,066 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Trailing just 16-12 at the break after a gutsy opening 40 minutes, it was a disappointing second half from Wests Tigers that saw them slump to another heavy defeat against the men from Bondi, with the Roosters running in four converted second half tries to one.
Wests Tigers now face two short turnarounds over the next fortnight, up against the defending premiers Cronulla Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night before returning to Campbelltown to Stadium take on the Gold Coast Titans on Friday Night Football.
Wests Tigers got the match off to a perfect start just five minutes in to the contest, with five-eighth Tuimoala Lolohea crashing through the line for his first try at the Club.
Lolohea had no problem converting his own try from in front to give Wests Tigers an early 6-0 lead, but the visitors would soon hit back as a cross-field kick from Mitchell Pearce allowed Blake Ferguson to out jump Kevin Naiqama and touch down out wide.
Michael Gordon was unable to convert from the sideline, leaving the score at 6-4.
The Roosters would make it two tries in quick succession through Connor Watson — brought on to the field as a replacement for Jake Friend — after some good lead up work from Latrell Mitchell out on the left wing found Wests Tigers short on the edge.
This time Gordon was able to add the extras from in front, taking the lead to 10-6.
Wests Tigers fans were up in arms soon after when Jack Littlejohn appeared to be taken out off the ball by Michael Gordon, with no penalty forthcoming for the home fans.
That would prove to be costly for the home side as the Roosters worked the ball down field and extended their lead through Aidan Guerra after a sharp right edge move.
Gordon again added the extras to take the score to 16-6 after 29 minutes.
Having conceded 16 straight points, Wests Tigers needed to find something before the break and did through fullback James Tedesco, who was the right man at the right time after good work from Esan Marsters and David Nofoaluma saw the ball kept alive.
Lolohea again added the two from out wide, cutting the lead to 16-12 after 35 minutes.
The visitors threatened to hit back again just before the break, but some stirring goal-line defence saw Wests Tigers hold form and take just a four-point deficit to the sheds.
After a sluggish first half from the Roosters that saw them complete just 14 of 22 sets, Trent Robinson’s men came out firing in the second half with Mitchell Pearce capping off a strong break from Luke Keary to score, despite the best efforts of Lolohea in defence.
Pearce would soon make it two for the night as he chased through on a kick from Luke Keary to score just before the ball went inside the dead ball line, before Guerra added his second of the night off a short ball to blow the scoreline open with 20 minutes to go.
Gordon’s successful night with the boot continued, taking the Roosters’ lead to 34-12.
Ava Seumanufagai went within a whisker of reducing the scoreline with his determined effort after 70 minutes, but the prop was ruled to have lost the ball trying to score.
And off the back of a seven tackle set with the in-goal knock-on, Watson would cap off his strong performance off the bench by backing up a strong run from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to grab his second try of the night under the posts after 72 minutes.
Gordon again added the extras, extending the visitors’ lead to 40-12.
Sauaso Sue would be rewarded for his tireless effort on the edge with a fortuitous four-pointer off a deflected kick from Jacob Liddle in the 77th minute, but it would be too little too late for Ivan Cleary’s men, with the Roosters running out 22-point winners.
Sydney Roosters 40 (Pearce 2, Watson 2, Guerra 2, Ferguson tries; Gordon 6/7 goals) def. Wests Tigers 18 (Lolohea, Tedesco, Sue tries; Lolohea 3/3 goals)