A Sonny Bill Williams masterclass has inspired the Sydney Roosters to a 32-12 NRL win over Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Williams scored two tries and laid on a superb offload for a Shaun Kenny-Dowall four-pointer with the round 11 game in the balance in the 64th minute to spearhead the premier’s sixth win of the season against his old club.
The visitors scored 18 points in eight minutes midway through the second half to run away with the contest in front of 19,088 fans, but the final scoreline was not a reflection of the intensity of the game.
After Dogs centre Tim Lafai was sinbinned for a professional foul in the 67th minute the Roosters put on two tries in three minutes as Williams forced his way over from close range and Anthony Minichiello dived on a James Maloney kick.
With both sides minus their State of Origin stars, the Roosters led 10-0 after 23 minutes after debutant Nene McDonald leapt onto a Maloney kick to score in the 17th minute, after a torrid softening up period up front.
Comically the video referees erroneously flashed up no try before onfield referee Ashley Klein confirmed the touchdown.
Williams then stepped his way through the Bulldogs line from 8m out.
On the back of six successive penalties Canterbury worked their way back into the game.
Winger Mitch Brown crossed out wide in the 27th minute for a converted try.
After a brutal forward battle, a halftime flashpoint ensued when Michael Ennis stayed down after a Sam Moa high-shot to the objections of the Roosters prop as players from both sides rushed in.
Krisnan Inu landed the subsequent conversion for a 10-8 halftime lead to the Roosters.
The Ennis incident came a minute after Sam Perrett also stayed down after a high tackle but was not replaced under the NRL’s new concussion rule.
Minichiello scored from a Kenny-Dowall offload in the 48th minute to increase the Roosters’ lead, before Williams stamped his authority on the game.
Dumped NSW halves Mitchell Pearce and Maloney were solid without being spectacular for the Roosters, while the Dogs lacked attacking fluency without the new Blues halves Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds.
Dogs interchange prop David Klemmer was put on report late in the game for lifting his leg while in possession of the ball.