"It's obviously a bit of a licence to play what's in front of us," James Maloney declares of how he's been instructed by Trent Robinson. "We knew what we had to fix tonight."
On the back of that performance, Sonny Bill fever is spreading...
The Bulldogs on the attack, vainly trying to prevent a shut-out, before the hooter ends the pain. Roosters 38 Bulldogs 0
"Hopefully I can concentrate on the one-percenters and get the respect of my teammates that way," says SBW on the sideline after earning an early mark. Genius must be in the detail. Friend in action at the other end, cleaning up a bomb in a rare attacking foray by the Dogs in the last 15.
Waerea-Hargreaves offloads to Friend, who weaves and shows the ball before setting Jennings free down the wing. He plants the ball at full stretch. His second for the season. It's sent upstairs but they needn't bother. Maloney, who like SBW can do nothing wrong, adds the extras from way out wide. Roosters 38 Bulldogs 0
Maloney! Well deserved. This time it was from a Jake Friend kick, just a delicate dab behind the line and the ball bounces perfectly for a grateful Maloney. He lines up to convert his own four-pointer and is successful. Roosters 32 Bulldogs 0
Moa drives towards the Dogs' line, Pearce jinks and jinks and shapes to kick; Moa again makes for the line but he's driven back. SBW lurks but eventually it's put down.
SBW! He powers over Morris and Ennis close to the line, off a Pearce pass. Talk about economy of influence. Everything he's touched has turned to gold. Extras count. Roosters 26 Bulldogs 0
Reynolds ruled, wrongly, not to have actually got his boot to the ball, and so no knock-on.
Not much variation in the Dogs' play in attack, with Barba wrapping around, and it presents very little difficulty for the Roosters. Tolman knocks on off a Reynolds kick. Should present a great attacking opportunity for the Roosters.
Pritchard tries to do some damage on the left, Barba steps, pushes and bats the ball to the wing, overhead, but it's all a bit desperate.
That was all James Maloney. The defence rushed up on the outside and he flies clean through the line. He draws the last man and puts Mortimer over next to the posts. Maloney adds the extras. Roosters 20 Bulldogs 0
Tony Williams ruled to have lost the ball in the field of play, off a diving, short pass from Josh Reynolds. He was lunging for the line with a swinging arm but it gets dislodged.
Martin Kennedy makes a bust and off the next ball Daniel Mortimer puts through the grubber, with Minichiello forced to shepherd the ball out the back.
Guess who? Pearce's cut-out pass forced the winger to come in and mark the man on the inside. That creates a clear stretch for SBW to get to the line. Maloney adds the two. Roosters 14 Bulldogs 0
Waerea-Hargreaves with a break and offload. Now the Roosters get an attacking scrum after Pritchard is judged to have leapt on a lose ball in an accidental offside position.
Maloney's kick is angled towards the corner where Perrett manages to field the ball without incident; the Roosters really coming out of defence quickly.
Maloney responds to his coach's orders, kicking long to have Barba scrambling with seven chasers in pursuit. The Roosters made almost 90m off the first set.
Trent Robinson on shutting out the Dogs in the first half: "We just controlled their shifts a bit better... It's a pretty simple game; we just need to defend well and kick long and hopefully we'll keep the eight points."
The Roosters amassed 163 tackles in that half compared to the Bulldogs' 118. But the Dogs not making enough impact up the middle of the park and their kicking game coming up short too often, according to the experts.
The Dogs push the Roosters deep into their own territory; and off the next set the Roosters follow suit via a raking Pearce kick. Half-time. The Dogs seemingly not showing enough punch up the middle; aimless side-to-side movement. The game a far more sadate affair than that suggested by the marketing. SBW did his job, though, setting up the try. Roosters 8 Bulldogs 0
Morris almost knocks on off Barba's pass but he regains the pill, plucking it from the air; Eastwood also flirts with dropping the ball, and the Dogs are making no headway. The cross-field kick hangs in the air for Perrett on the cusp of the try line and it's batted backwards before Barba is pushed across the sideline.
The Bulldogs find a bit of width in attack and Reynolds makes a few easy metres before Minichiello attempts to take the kick on the fly and it ricochets off his chest. Good position for the Dogs, and it's followed by a penalty. They're 10m out.
James Maloney adds to the lead after a Canterbury infringement hotly disputed by Michael Ennis. Roosters 8 Bulldogs 0
Sonny Bill Williams celebrates after setting up the first try to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Photo: Getty Images
Dogs pinged again for creeping up inside the 10. Now the Roosters spill the ball. Roosters 6 Bulldogs 0
Great run from Waerea-Hargreaves, whose work is followed up by Maloney, pushing off players and proving hard to ground. From the resulting kick, Barba takes off - shades of last season - but it's called back to give the Dogs a 22m restart. Mitchell Aubusson didn't even go for the ball in the bomb contest.
Bulldogs over but it's ruled a forward pass from Reynolds near the Chooks' line; in fact, the ball and the defender intersected and it was all a bit messy.
The Dogs make 51 metres off their first five tackles but end the set with another poor kick. The Roosters, with a fast-moving defence, making the yards a lot easier at this stage. Penalty to the Dogs following a solid run from Dale Finucane.
Hodgkinson finds touch with an ugly kick that grubbers awkwardly. The Roosters pressured him to kick off his wrong side. The Roosters spill it, after Jake Friend moved up quickly in defence. The Dogs have it back inside their own half.
The try is converted and the Bulldogs take the early lead. With so much of the build-up focusing on SBW, it seemed almost a deliberate ploy to minimise his influence until the launch. An average kick by the Bulldogs is fielded by Perrett, but the chase is so good that the Dogs force a restart. Bulldogs 0 Roosters 6 after 14 mins
Williams' pass does the business! Went the short side on the right, and Sonny Bill fires a bullet of a pass to Tuivasa-Sheck on the wing, and he shows plenty of toe to step inside while showing the ball to cross the line. That's SBW's first touch of the game.
A break by Hodgkinson advances the Dogs forward, followed by a robust run from Eastwood. Minichiello under no pressure from the subsequent kick, however.
SBW lurking out wide, where the ball bounces free and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck flirts with the sideline only to be pushed across the line.
The Dogs work play close to the Roosters' line on the last, and the ball's swung side to side, with Barba eventually losing the ball under pressure. Strong Roosters defence is followed up by a penalty against the Bulldogs for slowing down the play-the-ball.
Predictably, plenty of noise greets Sonny Bill. Canterbury in their heritage strip, and Reynolds puts the ball into the Roosters' 10, but a knock-on from Moa gives the Bulldogs possession back.
In team news, the Roosters report that Trent Robinson has stuck with the 17 named on Tuesday, with Luke O'Donnell and Michael Oldfield omitted. Aidan Guerra will make his return from a knee injury after a playing well for Newtown in the NSW Cup.
The Bulldogs welcome back Greg Eastwood, who missed last week's match for personal reasons, while Trent Hodkinson comes in for the injured Kris Keating.
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Friday 7.35pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 26 2012 - Bulldogs 42 bt Roosters 10 at ANZ Stadium
Head-to-head: Roosters 78 Bulldogs 77 drawn 5
Referees: Ben Cummins, Gavin Morris
TV: Channel 9 (live in Sydney, 9.30pm in Brisbane)
TAB Sportsbet: Roosters $1.67 Bulldogs $2.25
FootyTab: Bulldogs +2.5
Phil Mitchell writes: Canterbury boss Todd Greenberg insists he doesn’t hold a grudge against Sonny Bill Williams, saying the hulking Kiwi has paid his dues since walking out on the Bulldogs five years ago. Try telling that to the thousands of rabid Bulldogs fans who will pack Allianz Stadium on Friday night and jeer Williams like he has never been jeered before. They will never forgive their one-time prodigal son for not only leaving the Bulldogs in the lurch but resuming his NRL career this season with their arch enemies, the Roosters.
Revenge, though, is the least of the Bulldogs’ concerns as they strive to rebound from a dismal start to the season. Canterbury can probably kiss their top-four chances goodbye if they lose this one. Look for the Bulldogs to target the Roosters’ suspect right-side defence, a tactic that Souths and Canberra have used to great effect this season.
Phil's tip: Bulldogs by six.
AAP writes: Sonny Bill Williams v Canterbury - a grudge match five years in the making. Ever since the day Williams walked out on the Bulldogs in a shroud of secrecy to pursue the riches of French rugby union in 2008, Bulldogs fans have been waiting for their time to give it to the man they one adored.
But while this might be about one man for the fans, for coach Des Hasler, it's about two much-needed competition points, with the Bulldogs winning just one of their opening five games and fast losing touch with the leading bunch. The Roosters too will want to bounce back after letting one slip against the Raiders last week.
Key: Sonny Bill Williams v Tony Williams. SBW v T-Rex, a meeting of the giants. There's little doubt SBW will be primed in what will be a hostile environment, while this is the perfect time for T-Rex to finally deliver on the hype.
ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello (capt), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Mitchell Aubusson, Sonny Bill Williams, Boyd Cordner. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Martin Kennedy, Isaac Liu, Aidan Guerra, Luke O'Donnell, Michael Oldfield (two to be omitted).
BULLDOGS: Ben Barba, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (capt), Martin Taupau, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Dale Finucane, Tim Browne, Frank Pritchard, David Klemmer (one to be omitted).