Roosters 26 Raiders 12
Sonny Bill Williams tries to get past the Canberra defence. Photo: Getty Images
Hat-trick hero Daniel Tupou is hoping defacto "cousin" Jorge Taufua is called up by NSW – but he says he's not about to swap wings for his lifelong friend.
The 195-centimetre Tupou bagged three tries in the Sydney Roosters' 26-12 win over Canberra at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night – all laid on by Blues reject James Maloney, who scored his side's only other touchdown.
Roosters five-eighth James Maloney dives over against the Raiders. Photo: Getty Images
NSW are looking for a new flanker for Origin II on June 18 following a shoulder injury to Brett Morris, and Tupou sent Taufua – a former Parramatta SG Ball teammate who sometimes claims to be his cousin – a text two weeks ago saying "it should have been you" when he was selected for the Blues.
"We had that talk last night – I don't know," Tupou told Fairfax Media when asked what flanks they would play on.
"I told him 'you'd better get practising on your right side because I'm definitely staying on the left'.
Taking flight: Daniel Tupou flies high to score against Canberra. Photo: Getty Images
"We'll see what happens. I hope he gets a spot."
Maloney declined to speak to the media after playing an equally influential role in a game the Roosters led 18-0 at half-time.
But Coach Trent Robinson said Maloney and halves partner Mitchell Pearce had taken their Blues omissions well.
"Both are disappointed ... they're proud to play for NSW and they didn't get the opportunity," he said. "They just need to keep performing at club level.
"I was really happy for Pearcy. I thought he kicked to the right positions, ran the ball at the right time, pushed the team about."
Tupou's first try came after a Pearce bomb was tapped down by Aiden Guerra and Maloney found his wing man unmarked in the south-eastern corner.
A pass from Maloney, following an incorrect penalty against Raider Josh Papalii, laid on the second try with Maloney himself crossing seven minutes short of full-time.
A 57th-minute touchdown by Tupou was textbook aerial work, soaring above the pack to claim Maloney's kick.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was encouraged by a finish that featured consolation tries to Jack Wighton and Paul Vaughan.
"I see a squad of players that are improving," he said. "It was a very, very committed performance against a very good classy football team."
The Roosters are closing in on the top four with seven wins and five losses, but Robinson lamented: "We weren't ruthless enough at the end to finish it off."