Sydney Roosters lifted a record equalling fourth World Club Challenge as Joseph Manu’s two tries proved decisive.
The Australian side continued their remarkable collection of silverware under coach Trent Robinson by also becoming the first club to successfully the retain the trophy.
They have won three NRL Grand Finals in the seven seasons he’s been in charge, topped the table on four occasions, and have now won three world titles under the former Catalans man.
New Zealand international Manu scored a try in either half, leaving the Super League champions to rue a number of missed opportunities.
Here are five talking points from the game.
1. Joseph’s dream finishes
In a tight match played in difficult conditions, finishing skills were always likely to be decisive – and Roosters centre Joseph Manu provided.
The Kiwi centre rounded off a sparkling Roosters raid in the first half by collecting debutant Kyle Flanagan’s pass to score.
Then – after the home side had laid siege to the visiting defence – he beat four Saints defenders to touch down in a rare Sydney attack.
Luke Keary’s long-distance try sealed the contest soon after to break St Helens’ hearts.
2. Saints lack cutting edge
For most of the crucial third quarter St Helens had the Roosters on the back foot.
But on several occasions they failed to find the crucial cutting edge that would have set up a grandstand finale.
Jack Welsby threw a pass into touch on the first tackle, Tommy Makinson just couldn’t take in a Jonny Lomax ball with the line open and also got bundled over the sideline.
Marquee rugby league matches are often decided on such fine margins, and Kristian Woolf’s side just couldn’t find the killer touch.
3. Walmsley’s towering opening stint
Saints prop Alex Walmsley started the game like a man possessed.
From the moment he trampled over Roosters loose forward Victor Radley and then stood toe-to-toe with him the immediate aftermath, he looked determined to lay down a marker for his side.
Mirror columnist Jamie Peacock had written how those on the Great Britain tour would be keen to right a few wrongs in the game, and Walmsley certainly looked like that was the case.
With Luke Thompson not far behind him and notching the game’s opening try – and Walmsley then rounding the scoring off late on – it bodes well for England in the Ashes later this year.
4. Roosters skipper lacking Friends in St Helens
Sydney Roosters’ stand-in captain Jake Friend probably won’t be heading out for a beer with the locals tonight.
The tenacious hooker took the captain’s armband from Australian international Boyd Cordner, who was ruled out by the Roosters in midweek.
It wasn’t so much Friend’s typically immersed performance in the middle of the field that riled St Helens supporters, but the number of lengthy chats he decided to have with referee Chris Kendall.
The home support let them know how they felt after one such discussion following Joseph Manu’s first half try – which the Roosters man took in friendly spirits with a quick wave.
5. Touching Mose Masoe tributes
The club’s were united before kick-off when both wore warm-up shirts bearing the name of their former player Mose Masoe.
The Hull Kingston Rovers front rower continues his rehabilitation from devastating, career-ending spinal damage in Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, having suffered the injury in a pre-season match at Wakefield.
There were bucket collections around the ground, the Roosters held a fund-raising night with the Robins on Thursday and the warm-up shirts will be signed and auctioned off this week.
The popular 30-year-old is clearly still at the forefront of both clubs’ – and the sport in general’s – minds.
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