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Roosters send another statement as Jared and Lodge batter Cowboys into submission

The Sydney Roosters have sent out a serious statement of intent after a dominant 32-18 win over the North Queensland Cowboys.

This was game 200 for James Tedesco, and while the fullback hit his usual high standards, he was far down the list after a series of superb showings from the Roosters.

Matt Lodge and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves laid the platform, especially in the first 20 minutes, and grabbed tries for themselves, while Victor Radley had two excellent try assists and Joseph Suaalii impressed both in attack and defence.

The win continues the Chooks’ charge up the ladder, though in truth, the two points are almost secondary to the message sent via the performance. On this form, they will be a huge problem for whoever draws them in the finals.

The Cowboys will come again, but this was a stark indication of the levels come post-season. They were utterly dominated in the middle, with only one of their big men – Luciano Leilua – managing to top 100m with ball in hand.

It will worry Todd Payten that his side were unable to compete with a fired up Roosters team, especially early on. They did wrestle their way back in as the half wore on, but just when it looked like they might go to the break at 10-6, they conceded themselves and let the momentum lift.

The Roosters’ first 20 minutes last week against the Broncos was about as good as any opening quarter all year, but this week’s was perhaps even better.

Radley and Suaalii started early, with the lock unveiled a Sam Walker-esque harbour bridge pass to get the 19-year-old on the board.

The winger then went around ringing bells – Tom Dearden copped a big hit, then got steamrolled in defence – while Radley was enjoying his ball-playing, creating a try for Lodge.

The 10-0 scoreline might have been more after Joey Manu caught a high kick, but could not ground cleanly.

It wasn’t a fair reflection of the game, and when the excellent Lodge and Waerea-Hargreaves took their breather, the Cowboys struck.

It was an excellent try to get the visitors on the board: Leilua was the source of it, tapping deftly on to Murray Taulagi. The winger still had plenty to do, but aimed himself at Walker on the tryline and got over the top of him to score.

It sparked the Chooks back into life. Walker produced a smart bat on of his own to get Paul Momirovski free and his pass was finished by Daniel Tupou.

Early in the second half, it got better. After a stunning defensive set that left Scott Drinkwater kicking from his own red zone, the Roosters forced a scrum and Sam Verrills crossed untouched from the base.

The Cowboys needed to get the next, and did. Griffin Neame broke the line and offloaded to Reece Robson for an excellent score next to the posts.

Again, when challenged, the Roosters responded. Waerea-Hargreaves and Lodge had returned and it told, with the hosts able to roll down the field more readily.

After both Tedesco and Keary had gone close, JWH hit a crash ball by the posts and grabbed a deserved try. Verrills added another on the next set and there might have been another for Suaalii, only for a bunker intervention.

There was time for Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to get a consolation effort, but it would be only that.

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