The Sydney Roosters flexed their attacking muscles in sizzling style at a rainswept Leichhardt Oval on Saturday, brushing aside a feeble Wests Tigers side 48-4.
Seven days after going down 64-6 to North Queensland in Townsville, the injury-hit Tigers capitulated badly in the second half as the premiers ran in eight tries in 36 minutes in front of a crowd of 5297 – the lowest of the NRL season.
That figure had halved at the final siren as supporters headed for the exits before the end as their side hit a new low in a season that started with such promise with big wins over Manly and South Sydney.
The defeat ended the Tigers’ slender finals hopes as they slumped to a sixth loss in seven games.
But the Roosters’ performance was a timely reminder of their premiership credentials as they moved up to third on the ladder on the back of a dominant display from their huge forward pack.
Leading 8-0 at halftime after a converted Michael Jennings’ try – the 100th of his NRL career – and a James Maloney penalty, there was little indication of what was to follow after the restart.
The floodgates were blown open by prop Sam Moa from close range, followed by a double from Anthony Minichiello and efforts by Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Daniel Tupou in a 20-minute blitz.
Despite losing star prop Aaron Woods with a knee injury and Robbie Farah heading to the sidelines due to the flu that had affected him all the week, the Tigers finally showed some fight late in the game.
Chris Lawrence threw Minichiello into touch and, from the resulting scrum, debutant Jy Hitchcox ensured the Tigers avoided a first shutout at their spiritual home with a neat run and finish.
The Roosters still had the final say when Mitchell Pearce darted over after another bulldozing run from Moa, with Maloney adding his eighth goal of the night.