Milestone man JWH binned, but Roosters have last laugh

Jasper Bruce |

A bloodied Jared Waerea-Hargreaves had an unforgettable milestone match for the Roosters.
A bloodied Jared Waerea-Hargreaves had an unforgettable milestone match for the Roosters.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has entered the history books via the sin bin, inspiring the Sydney Roosters to a 42-12 thrashing of St George Illawarra that hoists the side into third place on the NRL ladder.

Waerea-Hargreaves’ record-breaking 307th appearance for the Roosters featured all the Kiwi hard man’s trademarks: a huge shot to start the day, a sin-binning, big metres and a battle scar, the Allianz Stadium crowd cheering as blood streamed down his face at the end of his first stint.

“It was exactly how one of Jared’s games should go,” said Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson congratulated Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson congratulated Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on his record-breaking effort. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

“It was on the line, he obviously went over it there at one point, unsure about that, but he was going to stay true right to the end.”

But as the beloved prop prepares to make his exit at the season’s end, it was the next wave of Roosters forwards who willed the premiership hopefuls to victory on Sunday afternoon.

Waerea-Hargreaves’ front-row partner Lindsay Collins halted the Dragons’ comeback after they had cut a 14-0 deficit back to two points with tries either side of the break.

The Queensland prop grabbed an inside pass from Luke Keary for his try, then set one up with a short ball for a flying James Tedesco, who streaked 60 metres to put the game to bed at 30-12.

“I felt like we broke their back on that one,” Robinson said.

Fresh from re-signing, Angus Crichton continued his superb season on the left edge by cashing in on Sam Walker’s grubber kick and helping the side remain on top after Collins’ go-ahead try.

Angus Crichton.
Angus Crichton scored a try to help the Roosters notch an easy win over the Dragons. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Second-rower Victor Radley had scored the Roosters’ first four-pointer in much the same fashion in the first half.

But Radley concussed himself attempting to stop Christian Tuipulotu from scoring the Dragons’ second try just after the break, ending the Rooster’s afternoon.

The Dragons were left to rue wasted chances, with 47 tackles inside the Roosters’ 20 yielding only two tries.

“I thought we went 55 minutes with them and it was just disappointing, the back-end of the game,” said coach Shane Flanagan.

“We were a bit slow in our execution of our attack.

“We are better than that. We just need to take our medicine today and look at the positives out of it. There were some good things that we did, but in the end they were just too strong.”

Current teammates joined members of the Roosters’ 1974 premiership squad to form a pre-match guard of honour for Waerea-Hargreaves, who usurped Mitch Aubusson to become the most-capped player in the club’s 117-year history.

“That probably hit the most, when I looked around,” Waerea-Hargreaves said of the guard of honour.

“Just seeing the former players that I’ve played with, played many years, and the guys that have helped me along with way, it was really emotional.”

Wearing a golden number eight on his jersey, he floored Francis Molo with the first tackle of the day and came within inches of opening the scoring as he strode towards the line.

But Waerea-Hargreaves found himself in hot water for making high contact with Dragons centre Max Feagai in the 16th minute, heading to the sin bin for the 10th time in his career.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was sent to the sin bin.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was sent to the sin bin during his record-breaking match. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

“It was quite fitting,” Waerea-Hargreaves said of his performance.

“I play my style of footy on a fine line.”

After a rest either side of halftime, Waerea-Hargreaves returned to finish the game and ended up with 143 run metres – more than any other middle forward on the park.

Dragons second-rower Jaydn Su’A went on report for a late shot on Brandon Smith in the first half, then a second time for hitting Michael Jennings high in the dying minutes.

But the Queenslander appears unlikely to have his State of Origin hopes dashed by suspension.