Central Coast Roosters have capped off an undefeated 2021 season after defeating Northern Tigers 24-14 in the SLE Laurie Daley Cup Grand Final at H.E. Laybutt Field in Sydney.
It was a shaky start from both sides guilty of errors before the Tigers recovered to put the Roosters under pressure with three repeat sets.
The Roosters defended valiantly until Tigers captain Mitch Henderson bamboozled them a big left-foot step in the 16th minute to score. He converted his own try to push his side out to 6-0.
Ill-discipline saw the Tigers penalised three times in a row and it eventually cost them with Roosters backrower Jye Boyle running a beautiful line off Jessi O’Neill-Pethebridge to crash over in the 21st minute. O’Neill-Pethebridge converted to draw the scores level at 6-6.
Henderson stepped up again after putting Blake Johnston over with a brilliant long ball. Henderson was ever reliable with the boot as he converted to extend the Tigers lead by 6 points.
The Roosters hit back just before halftime from a scrum play when Hooker Tyler Moriarty dummied and carried defenders over the line, as they went into the sheds at 12-12.
With scores level, the Tigers continued to keep the pressure on as they kicked a penalty goal to put them ahead 14-12 in the 42nd minute.
Tempers frayed after a bone-rattling tackle from Roosters centre Michael Whitton caused a push and shove between the two sides. Whitton was placed on report but the incident sparked the Roosters.
O’Neill-Pethebridge was always threatening and put Lachoneus Paki through a gaping hole to get the Roosters on the front foot. Paki looked certain to score until a desperate ankle tap from Samuel Fechner stopped him in his tracks. Despite Fechner’s best efforts, the Roosters went over the very next play through Jye Boyle and the Chooks led 18-14 with 25 minutes remaining.
The Roosters had their tails up and some hard ball running from Peters and Boyle swung momentum in their favour to leave the Tigers hanging on by a thread. Tyler Moriarty eventually put the nail in the coffin and capped off a Man of the Match performance with a try in the 67thminute, giving the Roosters a hard fought 24-14 victory.