TEAMS: NSWRL Sydney Shield - 2020 Round 5
7 hours ago | New South Wales Rugby League
They had to earn it, but the Sydney Roosters have claimed their fifth World Club Challenge title with a 20-12 win over last year's Super League champs St Helens.
It was evident from the early moments of the contest that the home side was going to bring an aggressive, skillful brand of footy, and on the back of a couple of penalties the Saints were first on the board through Canterbury-bound prop Luke Thompson. Tom Makinson's conversion had the hosts 6-0 ahead after just seven minutes.
Not to be outdone, the Roosters pushed back and just five minutes later claimed their first points with Daniel Tupou tiptoeing down the sideline off some quick passing to the left wing. Kyle Flanagan - not Siosiua Taukeiaho - took kicking duties for the first part of the match and was unsuccessful, striking the upright.
Both sides had good chances over the following ten minutes before a Joey Manu try in the 20th minute put the NRL premiers in front. Flanagan's attempt on goal this time hit the crossbar and the lead remained 8-6.
There would be no scoring for 40 minutes of play after the Manu try - the Roosters carried that lead to halftime and didn't extend it until the same player scored out wide at 61 minutes.
Manu's second four-pointer came after sustained pressure from St Helens failed to yield any points - the home side dominating the game in possession and field position but unable to find the polish, to their own detriment. Flanagan's conversion attempt went wide.
The visiting side all-but confirmed their victory ten minutes from fulltime when Luke Keary finished off a Taukeiaho break under the posts, with SST taking over the kicking and putting away the conversion comfortable from in front, then adding a penalty just two minutes later to push the margin to 14 points.
Alex Walmsley forced his way over as the wind and rain intensified late in the contest, a consolation try two minutes from time which Makinson dutifully converted - but it was all for nought as the Roosters held out for the remaining 90 seconds.
The WCC win for the Tricolours is their second consecutive title, and fifth overall - and sets them up nicely as they look ahead to a potential third straight NRL premiership this year.
They head home next week and face the Knights in Gosford in their final trial of the pre-season, while Saints' next clash is an 'away' game against Super League newcomers Toronto in Warrington on Saturday evening UK time.
St Helens 12 - Sydney Roosters 20
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium
Halftime Score: St Helens 6 Sydney Roosters 8
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Luke Keary
2 points - Alex Walmsley
1 points - Siosiua Taukeiaho
ST HELENS (12)
Tries: Luke Thompson, Alex Walmsley
Conversions: Tom Makinson (2/2)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (20)
Tries: Daniel Tupou, Joseph Manu (2), Luke Keary
Conversions: Kyle Flanagan (0/3), Siosiua Taukeiaho (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Siosiua Taukeiaho (1/1)