Roosters 50 Eels 0
Sonny Bill Williams of the Roosters takes on the defence. Photo: Getty Images
Had Sonny Bill Williams not honoured his pledge to the Roosters, Parramatta were the team most likely to nab the former All Black.
But it would have taken more than Williams to have changed this result, a second shut-out in succession and the biggest win by the Roosters over the Eels, eclipsing the previous mark of 43-2 set way back in 1973.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Roosters dives over to score a try in the corner. Photo: Getty Images
Williams was the chief destroyer. He touched the ball on four occasions in the opening half and was never tackled, popping a pass to a man in support or planting the ball over the white stripe. When not scoring tries, he was setting up his teammates. The cut-out pass he threw to gift Roger Tuivasa-Sheck his third try was saccharine sweet.
''The best pass I have seen this season was by Jarrod Mullen last week, but that is a photo finish second and that is a from a bloke who hasn't been in our game for five years and is a back-rower,'' Andrew Johns said during commentary duty for Triple M. ''That made me stand and applaud. That pass is an act of genius.''
Other Rooster recruits also starred. Todd Carney deserves first shot at the NSW No. 6 jersey but, if form or fitness conspire against him, there is another form goal-kicking pivot with experience playing alongside Mitchell Pearce. James Maloney was involved in most of the good things for his side. And Michael Jennings also scored and ran for a stack of metres, even if he was only the second-best three-quarter on the field. Teammate Daniel Tupou ran for 212 metres, bagged a meat pie and was unstoppable. The game was effectively over at half-time.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck celebrates one of his three tries. Photo: Getty Images
The Eels are not a team that can afford to give their opponents a 22-point head-start. Had Shaun Kenny-Dowall been in better finishing form early, the score could have been anything. When the tri-colours completed 19 of their 20 sets in the opening stanza, this was only going to go one way. But perhaps most pleasing for coach Trent Robinson was that they didn't let up, finishing with nine unanswered tries to bring up a half-century.
Parramatta made their first error of the game in the 12th minute, and were duly punished. When Vai Toutai was unable to defuse a Pearce bomb, the scraps fell the way of the home side. Sensing they were on a good thing, the Roosters continued to put boot to ball in the attacking zone and it continued to pay dividends. Before long they started crossing the stripe before they got to the fifth tackle. It's difficult to believe that Tuivasa-Sheck has never scored a try in his first 10 appearances in first grade. He nabbed three against the Eels, the best from a spectacular leap over the luckless Toutai off a Pearce kick.
The Eels impressive first-up win against the Warriors must feel like it happened an eternity ago.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 50 (R Tuivasa-Sheck 3 B Cordner M Jennings D Mortimer D Tupou J Waerea-Hargreaves S Williams tries J Maloney 7 goals) bt PARRAMATTA 0 at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Ben Cummins, Chris James. Crowd: 18,014.