Anthony Minichiello’s first NRL hat-trick kick-started the Sydney Roosters’ season as Parramatta were blown away 56-4 by a brilliant second-half display from the reigning premiers.
It was the second successive season the Eels have given up a half-century of points at Allianz Stadium as they capitulated after halftime to sink to their heaviest defeat to the Roosters.
Despite having 122 tries to his name, former NSW fullback Minichiello had never crossed three times in a game since making his debut as a winger in 2000.
“It’s taken me 15 years in first grade to do it,” Minichiello told Fox Sports.
“I am pretty happy about it.”
It was the perfect response by the Roosters to last week’s insipid display in losing to South Sydney as they ran in 10 tries and James Maloney kicked eight goals.
The Eels actually started the brighter of the two sides but were made to pay when a goal-line drop-out on the Roosters’ line became a penalty for the hosts after Jarryd Hayne was adjudged to be in front of the kicker.
Mitchell Pearce found touch and the Roosters marched downfield for an eighth-minute try when skipper Minichiello picked off a smart inside pass following a Mitchell Aubusson line bust.
Parramatta were again made to pay for some indiscipline when Luke Kelly was caught offside and from the quick-tap penalty Sam Moa ran off Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to bulldoze his way over the line.
The Eels’ frustration boiled over midway through the first half and prop Darcy Lussick was lucky to stay on the field after a sickening high shot on Waerea-Hargreaves that’s certain to land him a suspension from the match review committee.
Lussick, seemingly undeterred, went for for his former Manly teammate again in the very next set, with a swinging arm narrowly missing his head.
Minichiello added his second on the 20-minute mark but the Eels’ response was a positive one and round-one hat-trick hero Semi Radradra pulled a try back for the visitors just after the half-hour mark.
The visitors dominated the final stages of the opening stanza and on the stroke of halftime almost scored from a thrilling move but Radradra grassed the ball just shy of the tryline.
However, the second half proved to be a nightmare for Brad Arthur’s side as the hosts clocked up 40 unanswered points.
Just after halftime, Kelly, who endured an evening to forget, failed to find touch with an ambitious 40-20 attempt and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck danced his way to the line.
Hayne’s kick then went out on the full handing possession straight back to the hosts and Aubusson crossed for four points before Tuivasa-Sheck added his second.
Former Eels junior Daniel Tupou increased the Roosters’ advantage before Minichiello completed his hat-trick following a suspicious-looking forward pass from Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
Trent Robinson’s side added some extra gloss to the scoreline with tries from Boyd Cordner and Aubusson.