Roosters 28 Wests Tigers 16
Worth the wait ... James Maloney. Photo: Getty Images
JAMES MALONEY proved to the Sydney Roosters faithful in Saturday night's Foundation Cup trial against Wests Tigers that the long wait for him to wear the tri-colours was worth it.
Maloney signed to join the Roosters in 2011 when he still had a year on his contract with the New Zealand Warriors but he showed enough on the rain-sodden Sydney Football Stadium during his team's victory to suggest he could be a stabilising force for a side which, occasionally, appeared at sixes and sevens last season.
He combined well in the halves with Mitchell Pearce to set up play, but he added an extra dimension to the Roosters with his boot as winger Daniel Tupou could testify.
NRL Foundation Cup
NRL Foundation Cup - Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Tupou benefited from a Maloney "special" in the 19th minute when he flew high above Wests Tigers winger Matt Utai to snaffle the ball and score in the corner.
Maloney also provided the Roosters with some breathing space when they were camped on their own line with three booming first-half drop kicks, the best of which finished on the 80-metre mark.
In the 49th minute he split the defence and set up another try when he linked up with utility player Daniel Mortimer which provided the Roosters with a well-deserved 16-6 lead.
Add Maloney's four goals from five attempts to the mix and it was a decent effort, as Pearce suggested.
"We play off each other and if we can steer the team around there'll be some success hopefully," Pearce said.
It was only a trial, but the Roosters attacked with great gusto. The forwards charged into the Tigers defensive line as though their careers depended on it. Props Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Moa blazed a bruising path.
Another player who made an early impression was back-rower Boyd Cordner, who had seemingly been forgotten in all the hype about Sonny Bill Williams and Luke O'Donnell joining the club.
As a player who had long been earmarked as an emerging star, Cordner, who played 22 of the club's 24 games last season, reminded his club's coaching staff of what he could offer when he stormed on to a Pearce pass to open his team's account.
Wests Tigers showed in patches they had the potential to unleash some exciting football via skipper Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall, but their momentum was frustrated by a string of silly penalties, something centre Chris Lawrence acknowledged after he injured his shoulders and was forced to miss the second half.
"We've got to hold the ball," he said. "Too many penalties [in the first half] burnt us out."
Tigers recruit Braith Anasta endured a strange outing against his old club, his image on the screen before the kick-off was greeted with a chorus of boos and he was pulled from the fray because of a gastro bug.
Tim Moltzen missed the second half for the same reason, Lawrence watched the last half with an ice pack on his shoulders while his centre partner Blake Ayshford was carted off the field after a knee to the head.