The Wyong Roos have continued their apparent stranglehold of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, defeating the Newtown Jets 48-14 at Central Coast Stadium.
With both sides - the Roosters and Sharks' feeders - hindered in recent weeks by Origin unavailabilities, the task was not made easier for the Jets, who were beginning to miss Leigh-bound half Daniel Mortimer, while for the Roos, regular five-eighth Jayden Nikorima was sidelined with a hamstring complaint. The Roos, however, were simply sensational across the park with Kauri Apouri filling Nikorima's shoes nicely, while halfback Mitch Cornish was in complete control Luke Sharpe bagging a double and Josh Mantellato enjoying a perfect afternoon with the boot. Newtown's best was centre Jesse Ramien, while they were also bolstered by the inclusion of front-rower Jeremy Latimore and mid-season signing Reubenn Rennie.
The Roos would be the team to open the scoring when Mitch Cornish took the short-side option to find Brendan Frei. The centre beat opposite number Aufaga-Toomaga and Kurt Dillon to back his way over the line, scoring his first Intrust Super Premiership NSW try of 2017, with Josh Mantellato superbly adding the extras.
Next up it was the no.7, no.6 and no.1 to combine for the Roos' second, with halves Cornish and Kauri Apouri splitting the defence and fullback Luke Sharpe running through the middle to go over untouched. The conversion was a simple one for Mantellato, making a 12-0 lead.
Apouri continued to be a dominant force for the Roos, showing a big left-foot step to beat Latimore and Leigh Higgins to score. That opened up an 18-0 lead after 26 minutes.
Just three minutes later, the Jets would hit back in their next opportunity on the Roos' line, this time thanks to talented centre Jesse Ramien. The NSW Under-20s representative took a ball from Kurt Kara to do all the work himself, showing extreme strength to get his side on the board. That brought the scoreline to 18-6 with a successful conversion.
The Roos weren't finished with as half-time approached, however, scoring again thanks largely to the work of Mantellato. The veteran winger took a bomb to run 60 metres downfield, with Sharpe then exploiting the tired Jets defence in the next play to complete the run and score his second. The ever-reliable Mantellato converted for a 24-6 score and despite another break from Sharpe soon after, that would remain until both sides headed into the sheds.
It likely needed to be the Jets to score first upon the resumption and Greg Matterson's men wasted little time in doing so, once again thanks to the sheer power of Ramien. The centre came up with an offload to outside man Edrick Lee, who then returned the favour and Ramien was able to prance down the sideline, push off Sharpe and score. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and the Roos still led 24-10.
A fine play from Kara would then reduce the margin further for the Jets, with the Newtown hooker putting a kick into the corner and chasing it to score himself. It was turning into a poor second half for Sharpe, who failed to take the ball after a horror bounce, with Kara taking the score to 24-14.
Another key error from Sharpe gave the Jets another chance to attack, with hooker Alec Bush going within centimetres of scoring his side's third, but when the Roos got their next opportunity they made no mistake. Matt Ikuvalu made a break down the right-hand side to get the home side in an attacking position, with some Mitch Cornish brilliance then delivering his side's first of the second half. Higgins was up in defence for the Jets, allowing the Roos' halfback to put in a long grubber for Grant Garvey to score, with Mantellato converting his 21st goal in succession for a 30-14 lead.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, yet another Mitch Cornish kick reaped rewards for the Roos, with Higgins letting a bomb bounce and Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck coming up with the ball, offloading and finding Ikuvalu for a well-deserved try. Mantellato converted yet again, before ensuring his side went back-to-back in the ensuing set; the winger leaped high for Cornish's next bomb before offloading to Frei, who picked up his second try. That brought the score to 42-14 in the dying stages.
The Roos were not finished with just two minutes remaining, with hooker Mitch Williams, Cornish and Aupouri combining for an outstanding try off a quick tap at the death. Fine support play saw the trio take their side 60 metres downfield, with Aupouri finishing the movement and beating several Jets defenders to put the icing on the cake for the ladder leaders.
With the successful conversion from Mantellato, the Roos emerged 48-14 victors. The Wyong side remains well ahead of the rest of the competition after 17 rounds, while the Jets are in 11th place only marginally ahead of the Wests Tigers.
Wyong Roos 48 (L Sharpe 2, K Aupouri 2, B Frei 2, G Garvey, M Ikuvalu tries; J Mantellato 8 goals) def Newtown Jets 14 (J Ramien 2, K Kara tries; Aufaga-Toomaga goal)