NZ Warriors have been outclassed by an impressive, yet under-strengthed Sydney Roosters outfit, losing 32-12 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday night.
Missing regular halves Luke Keary and Lachlan Lam, the Roosters put their faith in the inexperienced pair of Drew Hutchison and 18-year-old debutant Sam Walker - and got the better of their Warriors counterparts.
After an impressive first half in which they lead, the Warriors completely faded in the second 40 minutes, as the Roosters turned on an attacking display to remember against the Kiwi side.
The Warriors were held scoreless in the second half, while the Roosters ran in three unanswered tries, condemning them to a second defeat of the season.
Looking for back-to-back wins for the first time in 2021, the Warriors got off to the perfect start, when centre Adam Pompey opened the scoring in the seventh minute.
A kick into the Roosters in-goal was allowed to bounce, as Joseph Manu and Eliesa Katoa competed in the air, only for Pompey to dive on the loose ball to claim the first try of the night.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Roosters hit back. Fullback and captain James Tedesco managed to elude the tackle of Warriors hooker Wayde Egan and didn't need a second invitation.
The Roosters star showed off his impressive pace, not even giving the Warriors' defence a chance to play catch up, racing away to score his side's first points.
But a missed conversion from Siosiua Taukeiaho saw the Warriors continue to lead 6-4.
They replied in style, when Tohu Harris managed to ground a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck grubber to add to the Auckland side's lead, scoring in the 21st minute.
But ahead 12-4, the Warriors advantage was wiped away to end the first half, as the Roosters struck back.
Just four minutes after Harris' try, the Roosters pegged one back through Nat Butcher, assisted by debutant Walker, before Brett Morris scored his eighth effort of the season to give Sydney the lead.
The winger belied his 34-year-old frame, beating the pair of Pompey and Ken Maumalo to score, following an uncharacteristic mistake from Tuivasa-Sheck to put the Roosters into an attacking position.
From 12-4 ahead after 21 minutes, the Warriors ended the first half 16-12 down.
The Kiwi side's cause wasn't helped, when Addin Fonua-Blake left the game with an injured knee, while the Roosters lost Sitili Tupouniua to a failed concussion test, after he ran into Katoa's forearm.
The Roosters had also appeared to have lost Morris, who stayed down with a calf injury early in the second spell, but he played on and scored the first points of the second half.
Running from dummy half, Morris caught the Warriors defence napping to cross over in the corner and extend the Roosters' lead to 20-12.
That became 26-12 not long after, as Drew Hutchison snapped up a loose pass after a mix-up between Tuivasa-Sheck and Bayley Sironen, racing away to score unopposed, as Walker added the conversion for his first points in the NRL.
The Warriors looked to have hit back through Maumalo, who dived to ground the ball on the left wing, but replays showed his hand was in touch.
Morris was forced to leave the field with another injury for the Roosters, but identical twin Josh rubbed salt into the Warriors' wounds, scoring the sixth and final try of the evening for the hosts.
The loss leaves the Warriors 10th on the NRL ladder, with two wins and two defeats so far in 2021, outside the top eight on points differential.
Meanwhile, the Roosters move from sixth into second, but can be overtaken by the Eels, who face Wests Tigers Sunday night.
The Warriors will hope to bounce back in round five next week, facing the last-placed Manly Sea Eagles on Friday.
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