Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s off season departure came back to haunt Sydney Roosters in the most dramatic way possible on Sunday, when the superstar Warriors fullback scored the match-winning golden point try against his old club.
And not long after sending the Roosters to their fifth successive loss to start the NRL season, a 32-28 golden point defeat at Central Coast Stadium, the former Tricolours No.1 declared he felt for his old club, following his first outing against them.
In his best game for his new club, Tuivasa-Sheck crossed for his first try for the Warriors and combined with the Auckland-based club’s other key recruit Issac Luke for their second win of the year.
With the scores locked at 28-all in the 82nd minute Tuimoala Lolohea broke the Roosters line when returning a wayward Jackson Hastings kick, before Tuivasa-Sheck ran 50m to score.
“It was a crazy game. I was surprised I still had some energy in me, Lolohea did all the hard work, I was just hoping to cross that line, I just pinned my ears back and went for it,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
“I was calm all week, it wasn’t until I came here today and saw their faces that I was nervous.”
On the plight of the Roosters, Tuivasa-Sheck said: “They are doing it pretty tough, some of their key players are out … they just have to stick with it.”
The finale left Roosters coach Trent Robinson ruing the one that got away.
“Disappointment comes in lots of different flavours and it is a different one today for us,” Robinson said.
“I love Rog, so if anybody is going to score against us I am happy for him. He is a good man, he has been a bit slow to start the season but it is good to see him come into some form.”
Before a crowd of 10,113 the Roosters led 8-0 early on the back of a Shaun Kenny-Dowall try and a Hastings penalty goal and conversion.
The Warriors then took over proceedings to score four tries in 20 minutes through Manu Vatuvei, Solomone Kata, before a double to Shaun Johnson saw them scamper to a 20-8 after 35 minutes.
Kenny-Dowall’s second try just before the break brought the score to 20-14.
Sio Siua Taukeiaho crashed over in the 52nd minute for the Roosters to lock up the scores at 20-20.
The home side went further ahead when Mitchell Aubusson broke the Warriors line and raced 50m to score three minutes later.
Kata scored his second in the 58th minute after Dylan Napa dropped the ball from the re-start to put the Warriors in great field position.
Johnson and Hastings then swapped penalty goals for the 80 minute scoreline of 28-all.
The result made it back-to-back wins for a happy Warriors coach Andrew McFadden.
“It wasn’t pretty from both sides, but both (were) desperate,” he said.
“It was a good moment for Roger. It was a challenge for him that game, he spent a lot of time with that club, it was good for him, he played well.”
McFadden also praised Luke.
“He was criticised (last week), I wasn’t happy with his form and neither was he and he responded the way a classy player should.”