Rugby League

Walker kicks Roosters past Bulldogs in Gosford wet

June 23, 2024 5:44 am

James Tedesco takes on the Bulldogs defensive line [Source: NRL]

A Sam Walker kicking masterclass has propelled the Roosters to a 26-8 victory over the Bulldogs in torrid conditions.

The halfback was superb with the boot as driving rain fell throughout the contest at Industree Group Stadium in Gosford.

Walker ensured the Roosters adapted perfectly to the conditions, laying on two tries with his boot and finishing with four try assists and a perfect five from five goal kicking.

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Canterbury battled throughout the match, however errors at inopportune times proved costly as they fell to their first defeat since Round 11.

While the Roosters opened the scoring through a Walker penalty goal, it was the Bulldogs who crossed for the first try of the contest.

Jaeman Salmon was on the end of an expansive attacking movement that started inside Canterbury’s own half, Jacob Kiraz producing a punishing fend to send Jeral Skelton away down the side line, before he linked up with Salmon to make it 4-2 after 17 minutes.

The Roosters hit back almost immediately, a punishing Jared Waerea-Hargreaves tackle putting his side on the attack. The hosts made the most of the opportunity, Dominic Young finishing off a scrum set play to put his side back in front.

The try allowed the hosts to claim the upper hand in the arm wrestle and a Brandon Smith 40-20 put the side back on the attack before Walker produced a perfect grubber for a charging Nat Butcher to make it 14-4.

The Roosters dominance continued immediately after the break, a Skelton error providing the side with another opportunity to attack.

Again, Walker’s boot was key, Terrell May benefiting from a fortuitous rebound to gather the ball and extend the lead.

Skelton made amends for the mistake soon after, racing 90 metres to keep his side in the contest.

The Roosters, however, didn’t skip a beat and Walker put his team back on the front foot with a series of astute kicks.

The pressure eventually resulted in points, debutant Blake Steep charging over from close range to make it 26-8.

The match took a late turn when Roosters centre Junior Pauga was sent off for a hight tackle on Connor Tracy with seven minutes remaining. The Bulldogs spent the rest of the match on the attack, with Walker sent to the sin bin after a string of Roosters penalties.

Despite being reduced to 11 men, Trent Robinson’s side held firm to secure a hard-fought victory.