Penrith have held onto their coveted top-two position, downing a gallant Sydney side 20-14.
It’s a timely performance for the Panthers, who were looking to bounce back from a 27-point trouncing at the hands of the ladder-leading Storm last week.
Penrith five-eighth Matt Burton was a standout for the match, finishing with two tries, 211 run metres, seven tackle breaks, and three line breaks.
He opened the scoring for Penrith in a trailblazing fashion, latching on to a floater from Viliame Kikau and storming down the length of the field, turning James Tedesco inside out on his way to a four-pointer.
By the 18th minute the Roosters had drawn level through Victor Radley, who received Sam Verrills’ cut-out pass and lunged over the line untouched.
As they would all night however, Penrith had an answer.
Paul Momirovski willed his way past the Roosters’ defence to score in the left corner, planting the Steeden on the stripe with an outstretched arm.
While man of the hour Burton failed to convert, he nailed two penalty kicks throughout the half to hand his side a 14-6 advantage at the break.
Burton looked to open the second half’s scoring in a similar fashion to the first, but James Tedesco refused to be outdone twice, capturing the ankles of a streaking Burton to prevent his second runaway try.
Burton would only have to wait a minute longer for his second try, imposing himself on the Sydney line with a deceptive dummy and left-foot step as he blazed past a handful of Roosters – Tedesco included – to extend their lead to 14.
Sydney’s grip on the contest was slipping, but the Roosters hung on with a try orchestrated by marquee man Tedesco.
Showcasing his offensive prowess, Tedesco threw a brilliant cut-out ball to Joseph Manu, who scored in the right corner with a captivatingly nonchalant yet extravagant finish.
Enjoying this article?
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and get sports stories straight to your inbox!
The Roosters got within a converted try, this time courtesy of Daniel Tupou in the left corner, who was the benefactor of a nice passing chain.
Unfortunately that was as close as Sydney came, the 20-14 scoreline remaining intact until the final siren.
The Roosters missed their chance to sneak into the top four, but will hope to pressure the fourth-placed Eels with a win over Brisbane next week.
Penrith on the other hand, will look to build on the victory as they ready their assault on the 2021 premiership.