The Sydney Roosters have arrested a three-game losing streak with a tense 24-18 win over a stubborn Cronulla.
Two second-half tries to Shaun Kenny-Dowall, the Roosters’ first points after halftime in a month, paved the way for the defending premiers after they had given up a first-half 12-6 lead at Remondis Stadium on Saturday night before 12,163 fans.
With the game in the balance at 18-18 with eight minutes left, Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce produced the matchwinning play when he chased down a batdown from his fifth-tackle bomb, passed on to Michael Jennings who dished off to Kenny-Dowall for the converted try that gave the Roosters their unassailable lead.
Earlier, the man they call SKD raced 95m metres in the 61st minute after latching onto a Todd Carney kick to put the Roosters ahead 18-12 after Wade Graham had barged over shortly following halftime to lock the scores up at 12-12.
Sosaia Feki scored in the 68th minute after the Sharks took a quick 20m tap for a 18-18 scoreline.
The Sharks were much improved on their effort in last week’s 24-4 thrashing at the hands of Manly, labelled “embarrassing” by coach Peter Sharp.
But the Roosters were dominant up front and halves Pearce and James Maloney outplayed their counterparts especially in the kicking department.
With captain Paul Gallen back for the Sharks and winger Daniel Tupou (leg) a late withdrawal for the Roosters, Ricky Leutele opened the scoring in the 14th minute when he palmed off Sonny Bill Williams and raced 50m beating desperate scrambling from Anthony Minichiello and Pearce in the process.
The Roosters hit back in the 19th minute when Boyd Cordner crashed over from close range from a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck pass and, with Maloney’s conversion, scores were tied at 6-6.
The Roosters went ahead five minutes later when Maloney scored in a played that went 60m.
Tuivasa-Sheck made plenty of metres stepping his way through a broken Sharks line before he dished off to Maloney who ran 40m untouched to score.
The video referees took more than four minutes to decide whether Carney was held off the ball by Mitchell Aubusson further upfield before awarding the try.
Kenny-Dowall and Tuivasa-Sheck did their claims for Kiwi Test jerseys no harm as the Roosters’ best, while Gallen was very strong in his return in a pleasing sign for NSW coach Laurie Daley.