Tarantino does rugby league as Roosters sound NRL title alarm

If Quentin Tarantino directed rugby league, and who’s to say he shouldn’t, it would look something like the blood, gore and brilliance of an ominous 34-16 Roosters triumph that puts the rest of the NRL on notice.

For the first 15 minutes the Broncos were reduced to little more than bystanders at the SCG, Sam Walker leading a red, white and blue blitzkrieg that ensured they were never headed.

With chip kicks, instinct and team-wide precision, the brilliance of a Trent Robinson-coached side in full swing was a sight to behold.

The blood and gore courtesy of hitman Victor Radley, and to a lesser extent Joseph Suaalii, less so. But it was a sight all the same.

As the Roosters rattled up an 18-0 lead before Brisbane had time to blink, the only thing able to stop the home side was Jake Turpin’s head.

And stop Radley it did, albeit briefly, as claret flowed in Tarantino-esque quantities before six stitches briefly stemmed the tide.

When Radley returned from the sheds the hits just kept coming, Corey Oates ironed out in a hall of famer that put the 105kg winger on his backside and Radley back in front of the doctor for more running repairs.

Suaalii threw his own formidable 19-year-old frame into the fray with similar relish, belting Ezra Mam with an impressive shot that also saw the Roosters teen surface with a split lip and blood everywhere.

If carnage was the order of the day without the ball, it was cruise control with it for the Chooks.

A sluggish Broncos line was never truly up to speed and the Roosters took full advantage, regularly marching 60, 70 and 80 metres in sets that didn’t feature the handling errors that remain in their game.

It’s those familiar fumbles that remain arguably the biggest question mark to an even bigger query: Is this the year a team wins the premiership from outside the top four?

When the Roosters are flying, with Walker and Suaalii in concert with Joey Manu and James Tedesco, they mount a compelling case for the prosecution.

Especially so when they’re doing their thing behind the brute force generated by Radley, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, mid-season signing Matt Lodge and the soon-to-return Siosiua Taukeiaho.

Even with Nathan Cleary twiddling his thumbs until finals, premiership front-runners Penrith and the resurgent North Queensland and Cronulla can of course argue just as compellingly for the defence.

Yet having entered 2022 alongside the Panthers as premiership favourites, the Roosters looked quite the part, finally, as they claimed their fourth straight win.

It still only lifts them to seventh on the ladder. South Sydney can reclaim that slot by downing the Warriors on Saturday. The Raiders can even join Robinson’s outfit on 22 points if they upset Penrith.

But with a Nat Butcher double coming either side of half-time and the Broncos only able to answer through an Oates double and a late Kurt Capewell salvo, the Roosters’ run is one that can’t be ignored.

So too, the lesson Brisbane were handed a month out from the finals, with back-to-back losses cause for concern rather than outright alarm.

Queensland icon Cameron Smith argued the Broncos were “spooked” by the Roosters’ physicality and it was hard to argue otherwise – especially as repeated mistakes came from a back line light on experience.

The Roosters themselves have farewelled plenty of finals know-how in recent years as the likes of Luke Keary, Manu and Walker work their combinations in real time.

As has been the case with Robinson sides in recent years though, it’s a run that looks bloody-well timed to say the least.

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