Roosters dominate Rabbitohs in Sydney derby

Last Updated: 29/05/20 1:39pm

Boyd Cordner of the Roosters
Boyd Cordner of the Roosters

The latest instalment of the oldest and fiercest rivalry in Australian rugby league ended in a 28-12 victory for the Sydney Roosters over the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday but it was quite unlike any of the 246 derbies that preceded it.

The third match after the resumption of the NRL saw action return to Sydney with the Roosters, champions for the last two seasons, taking on the Rabbitohs on neutral ground in Parramatta.

Australia might have made great strides in containing the spread of COVID-19 in the nine weeks since the league was suspended but social distancing restrictions remain and the Western Sydney Stadium was empty.

Luke Keary makes a break for the Roosters
Luke Keary makes a break for the Roosters

The few media allowed in along with the teams and officials had their temperatures checked and were required to answer a questionnaire about their recent movements before they entered the 30,000-seat arena.

The Rabbitohs, part-owned by Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, are among the most popular teams in the country but the only support visible on Friday were a few dozen cardboard cutouts that fans had paid to have propped up on empty seats – including a cutout of Dominic Cummings.

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Dominic Cummings spotted at Bankwest Stadium enjoying Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs…
Dominic Cummings spotted at Bankwest Stadium enjoying Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs…

All eyes were on Latrell Mitchell, the hugely talented indigenous back who switched between the clubs at the end of last year and was facing his former Roosters teammates for the first time.

Mitchell, great nephew of Australian tennis great Evonne Goolagong, also made a positional switch after moving to Redfern and again struggled with his positioning at fullback.

 Tedesco was in sublime for for the Roosters
Tedesco was in sublime for for the Roosters

The Roosters led 12-6 at half-time on the back of two tries, the second a glorious sweeping movement finished off by young five eighth Kyle Flanagan, and ran in three more through James Tedesco, Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend after the break.

Tries from local product Cameron Murray and English prop Tom Burgess kept the Rabbitohs in the hunt but the Roosters’ defence held firm through some furious exchanges to record their first win from three matches this season.

Source : Sky Sports