Roosters 12 Bulldogs 30
Super start ... Krisnan Inu scores on debut for the Bulldogs. Photo: Brendan Esposito
There is backing up from State of Origin, which is what many in the competition did over the round, and what Krisnan Inu did last night, which eclipsed all of it.
Inu might not have played last Wednesday night. What he did was arrive in Australia, having been given an immediate release by the Warriors to sign with the Bulldogs. Then last night, in his first outing for his new club, he came up with two tries and a remarkable assist.
Inu shows Roosters who's top Dog
James Graham under pressure. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Having trained on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Inu's signing - not to mention coach Des Hasler's decision to put him on the Bulldogs wing so soon - has had an immediate effect. Sure, Inu can be brittle at times - his last game with the Warriors, the Anzac Day clash with Melbourne, was a prime example of that -but if the Bulldogs can get the best out of him they will have a cheap, cheerful, and undoubtedly talented player.
''Things happen,'' Inu said of his move. ''The team had injuries, the Warriors had a lot of players for next year, the opportunity arose and I put my hand up and said, 'yeah, sweet'. Now I'm here.''
Asked if he could have imagined such a performance in his club debut, Inu said: ''I can't imagine any game, really. Everyone just prepares to do their job and see how things play out. I was grateful that I got a good game. The boys did well. It made my job easier. I just prepared for another game - obviously with a new team.''
Inu, who scored a try in each half but saved his best for a 36th-minute assist, grew up as a Parramatta junior, and never dreamt he would be playing for the team's old rivals. That said, he did play with some current Bulldogs, Kris Keating and Trent Hodkinson, at Westfield Sports High.
''Going to a new team is like going to a new school, making new friends,'' Inu said. ''Lucky for me I grew up playing with some of the boys. It made it a lot easier. They're real true men and great brothers.''
Inu wasn't alone against the Roosters. While he and Jonathan Wright each scored a brace of tries, fullback Ben Barba saved them. Barba's two strips early in the second half were crucial.
First, he managed to strip the ball from Minichiello, using predominantly his legs. Then he chased down Pearce, who had taken an intercept from Michael Ennis's ball, before stripping the ball from the Roosters half. To add insult to, well, insult, Pearce - showing his frustration - was penalised for shoving the fullback into touch.
It took some performance to put those plays somewhat in the shadow, and Inu provided them.
We keep hearing about how quickly momentum can change during the course of contests. Last night it was provided by Inu, who produced the good rather than the bad for his club debut.
His effort to catch Keating's bomb and fling the ball back infield - as he touched down - was his best of the night, handing Frank Pritchard the try which got the Bulldogs back into the contest. At that stage, the Bulldogs had trailed 12-4; it turned the contest in his side's favour.
''I knew someone was going to be on the inside, so I just threw it back in,'' Inu said. ''Lucky for me, Frankie was there ready for it.''
Ready for anything, clearly. ''Those players make those kind of things happen; the skill that he put on it,'' Hasler said. ''The catch, and the awareness, I guess, to shovel the ball back in.''
Hasler, never one to overstate anything, described Inu's performance as ''a tidy debut''.
''He's played in two grand finals, he's played lots of Test footy,'' Hasler said. ''He's a very handy acquisition for us.''
CANTERBURY 30 (K Inu 2 J Wright 2 F Pritchard D Stagg tries K Inu 3 goals) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 12 (A Minichiello M Pearce tries B Anasta 2 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Jason Robinson, Adam Devcich. Crowd: 11,343.