As a constant reminder that fans and pundits love the flash and high-flying scenes, the Roosters’ aura just took a huge hit last night after being absolutely destroyed by their rivals, the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
In a one-sided affair, prior to the kick off, it was all about the professionalism and dominance of the Roosters. Their quest to a three-peat was apparently in the writing.
So many people have seen their huge wins over the Broncos, the Tigers and the Knights in recent weeks. Almost to a tee, they scored the first try with slick back movements.
Everyone just assumed it was all but over, only after ten minutes. What occurred in the next 70 minutes was an absolute masterclass.
The Roosters rested three of their top 17 players, but the key men were all there. They were absolutely outplayed, outclassed and just dominated.
Their aura faded so fast, the 80 minutes felt like 50 minutes. It was just an avalanche of points.
In one game, the Roosters conceded 50 points. Their halfback Kyle Flanagan – who had a healthy lead as the top point scorer – lost that gong to the Souths halfback.
To make it worse, winger Alex Johnston scored five tries to win the top try scorer gong as well. This happened all on the Roosters’ watch.
If you look through their season, their record against top-eight sides is very average. In 20 games, the Roosters have lost six games: two to the Storm, one to the Rabbitohs, one to the Panthers, one to the Raiders and one to the Sea Eagles. That’s five losses to teams in the top eight and one loss to a team outside the eight.
They do have victories against sides in the top eight, with some against the Raiders, Souths, the Sharks and the Eels. Their strength of schedule was very favourable for them and with all forms of COVID extremities, their travel was very, very easy.
People have applauded their big wins against very low sides, the Broncos and the Bulldogs, but have not really looked into very close losses to the Warriors and the Titans.
It’s like the Roosters get a free pass in tight wins and losses, but get all the applause with big wins.
After being dismantled by Souths by 52 points, how do they go from here?
They more than likely play Penrith now and with Penrith’s form, it could be a short finals trip for the men who looked a sure thing to win three titles in a row.
The cracks are really showing and, finally, maybe others may see them too.