James Tedesco was no fire again for the Roosters. Picture: AAP
James Tedesco was no fire again for the Roosters. Picture: AAP

Greatest NRL backline in 35 years?

IS this the greatest club backline in 35 years? Could they possibly rival the wonderfully gifted Parramatta backline of the early 1980s?

That was a question being asked around the grand old SCG on Sunday afternoon after the Sydney Roosters bamboozled New Zealand Warriors by 42-6. It was a win that all but secured the rampaging Roosters a top-four finish.

And leading the way was a red-hot Roosters backline who posted the opening five tries, seven overall.

This Roosters backline has everything - vision, skill, power, height and speed. They are lethal and chock-full of strike.

Tries went to centre Latrell Mitchell (19th minute), fellow centre Joseph Manu (27), five-eighth Luke Keary (45), fullback James Tedesco (55) winger Brett Morris (58), Mitchell again (68) and then winger Daniel Tupou (78).

The only player who failed to score was their little general, Cooper Cronk.

Has the game seen a more dynamic backline since the Eels offered up Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Steve Ella, Mick Cronin and Eric Grothe in the early to mid-1980s?

Luke Keary breaks open the Warriors' defence.
Luke Keary breaks open the Warriors' defence.

Allan Langer, Steve Renouf, Michael Hancock, Chris Johns and Kevin Walters gave Brisbane some powerful backlines during the 1990s but few can match the current day Roosters.

And while the backline was brilliant, the Roosters defence was committed and structured. The Roosters weren't at full throttle but got the job done efficiently and easily.

They are heading head first toward back-to-back titles.

Tedesco scored an embarrassingly easy try when he ran through the middle of Warriors ruck from a penalty tap restart to score. It was under-8s stuff.


He was rattled after being racially vilified last week but Latrell Mitchell laughed last.

Mitchell finished with 18 points. AAP Image/Darren England.
Mitchell finished with 18 points. AAP Image/Darren England.

Mitchell maintained his dignity throughout the drama and came out to score two tries, set up another and kick five goals.

He is rebuilding his game nicely heading into the finals after the disappointment of being dumped for State of Origin II.

Mitchell will need to be at his damaging and dynamic best for the Roosters to win successive premierships.

His 18-point haul against the Warriors means Mitchell has more than doubled his opponent's score in seven consecutive games at the SCG, outscoring them 128-60.


Warriors centre Gerard Beale was taken from the field on a Medicab with a patella tendon injury, just below the kneecap. The game was held up for five minutes while New Zealand' medical staff worked to calm Beale.

Beale will require surgery with his recovery being anywhere from six months to a year.

He was hurt in a legal three-man gang tackle. It is unlikely Beale would play again this season. He was replaced by Kodi Nikorima.

The Warriors' pain increased midway through the second half when hooker Jazz Tevaga was sin-binned for a late shoulder charge on Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk.

SYDNEY ROOSTERS 42 (L Mitchell 2 M Aubusson L Keary J Manu B Morris J Tedesco D Tupou tries L Mitchell 5 goals) bt NZ WARRIORS 6 (R Tuivasa-Sheck try C Harris- Tavita goal) at Sydney Cricket Ground. Referee: Matt Cecchin, David Munro. Crowd: 12,227