Bulldogs coach Dean Pay wasn’t thrilled with the refereeing in his side’s loss to the Brisbane Broncos.
The Sydney Roosters have snapped a three-game losing streak to power into equal-second spot on the NRL table with a 38-12 dispatch of cellar dwellers Canterbury.
Answering coach Trent Robinson’s challenge to return to the standards expected of the reigning premiers and competition’s benchmark team, the Roosters ran in seven tries to two to leave the Bulldogs rooted to the bottom of the ladder.
But even a two-try, 18-point performance from Latrell Mitchell on his 22nd birthday couldn’t save the superstar centre from the State of Origin axe by NSW coach Brad Fittler on Sunday night.
Instead it was Mitchell’s regular centre partner Joseph Manu who lit up the gloomy SCG deputising for rested Blues fullback James Tedesco.
Manu also crossed twice, as well as setting up one other and running for a game-high 253 metres.
NSW captain Boyd Cordner dispelled any lingering injury concerns with a big game after suffering ankle ligament damage in Origin I, while Cooper Cronk and Daniel Tupou combined superbly for two of the Roosters’ tries.
Not even an eye-catching debut from New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak – who provided a new dimension attacking from fullback following his mid-season defection from Penrith – or a lively display from hooker Jeremy Marshall-King – could save Canterbury from an 11th defeat of the season.
Watene-Zelezniak’s first game for the club unfortunately ended prematurely after he was forced off after 55 minutes following a nasty head clash with Roosters prop Siosiua Taukeiaho.
Fellow Kiwi Kieran Foran also tried his heart out, but the sad reality is the Bulldogs lack the class across the park to compete with the league’s heavyweights.
Apart from Mitchell’s and Manu’s doubles, Sitili Tupouniua, Drew Hutchinson – enjoying a rare start in the absence of injured playmaker Luke Keary – and Isaac Liu also collected four-pointers for the Roosters.
After losses to Penrith, Newcastle and Brisbane in their previous three outings, Sunday’s victory was a welcome relief for coach Robinson heading into next weekend’s bye for representative round and Origin II in Perth.