James Maloney showed why he would not look out of place in a NSW jersey after playing a leading hand in the Sydney Roosters’ 24-2 NRL dismantling of Melbourne at Allianz Stadium on Monday night.
The Roosters’ right edge was outstanding with five-eighth Maloney having a hand in two of his side’s tries and setting up another.
While Mitchell Aubusson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck were also outstanding, it was Maloney’s performance that would have given Blues coach Laurie Daley food for thought after his side lost State of Origin I last week.
The Storm took the field without Queensland fullback Billy Slater while their other Origin contingent of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk failed to make a dent on the contest.
The Roosters flew out of the blocks and after Mahe Fonua coughed up a Maloney bomb, Shaun Kenny-Dowall found space to score on the right edge in the second minute after some excellent lead up work from Aubusson.
Fullback Tuivasa-Sheck came up into the attacking line and threw a lovely cut-out ball for Daniel Tupou to score the Roosters’ second try.
When Maloney kicked a penalty conversion at the 15-minute mark, the Roosters were completely dominating the contest, enjoying 82 per cent possession.
Despite the Roosters having the ascendancy for the first stanza, the Storm went into the sheds only down 12-2 and would have considered themselves very much in the contest.
However when Ryan Hinchcliffe got disorientated after a tackle and played the ball straight back to the opposition, it seemed to set the tone for Melbourne’s second half.
Another Maloney penalty soon after pushed the Roosters’ lead back out to 12.
The Roosters right side then proceeded to put the contest to bed.
First they put the ball through some speedy hands to send Aubusson over.
He turned provider 11 minutes later when after producing a lovely flick pass for Kenny-Dowall’s second as the Roosters completed a dominant performance.
MORE TO COME