Roosters captain James Tedesco has echoed the sentiment of fans after slamming his side's "embarrassing" loss against Penrith on Friday night. The Tri Colours slumped to their heaviest defeat of all time against the Panthers in the NRL, with Jarome Luai stamping his case for Origin selection after starring in the 48-4 win at BlueBet Stadium.
With Cronulla's Nicho Hynes breathing down his neck to be selected as the NSW five-eighth, Luai put in his best performance of the season in a timely reminder to Blues coach Brad Fittler. The Penrith playmaker had a hand in three of the four tries that gave the Panthers a 24-0 halftime lead they never looked like surrendering.
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The two-time defending premiers also crossed for four more tries in the second half to chalk up their biggest win over a Roosters side who have now slipped out of the top eight. The Roosters were restricted to just one try for a second-straight week and lacked steel in defence, with Tedesco pulling no punches in a withering assessment of his side after the game.
"We pride ourselves on that at the Roosters, working hard for each other. The last few weeks, it hasn't been there," Tedesco said. "It was really hard to be captain and serve that up. It's embarrassing.
"We're not resilient enough. As soon as something bad happens, we let in a few tries. We just drop our heads and it just gets worse and worse. It's pretty hard to swallow."
Roosters leaking 68 last two weeks. Something is very wrong.
— ReadingThePlay (@ReadingThePlay) May 12, 2023
This is a disgrace. Radley, Turbin, Butcher, Lodge, Suali. They can barely breathe let alone move. I am embarrassed to support the roosters tonight. Unfit and NO EFFORT! Disgraceful! Waste of my membership money!
— Sam (@Sam11176134) May 12, 2023
Roosters could not be anymore terrible… Robbo needs to be questioned
— whats that got to do with me (@honestlyhateful) May 12, 2023
Injuries to Waerea-Hargreaves and Manu compounded the Roosters' woes, with both men set for scans over the weekend. "How bad (the injuries are) I'm not sure, but they obviously couldn't come back on the field," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
Waerea-Hargreaves left the field with a pectoral injury in the opening 20 minutes and his teammates floundered without him; no Roosters forward ran for over 100 metres, but five of their Panthers counterparts managed to. Manu required assistance leaving the field in the second half after he rolled his ankle attempting to stop the Panthers' team defence from carrying a Roosters ball-carrier backwards.
The New Zealand international has played five-eighth for the past month, with Sam Walker dropped to reserve grade, but a knee injury has meant out-of-favour Walker won't regain his spot in the side to face St George Illawarra next week. Walker suffered his injury at training earlier in the week and missed Friday night's NSW Cup game against Penrith but will not require surgery and is expected to be available for selection in round 14.
Jarome Luai stamps Origin claims in masterclass display
Scott Sorensen opened the scoring for the Panthers before Luai took control of the match in an emphatic statement before the NSW Origin side is named in the next fortnight. Luai set up Penrith's next try after holding the ball up, skipping at the defence to create an overlap and then passing to his second-rower, whose line break led to a Dylan Edwards four-pointer.
Luai was only getting started and his short ball to Sorensen confirmed the first double of the big man's career. Just before halftime, the Penrith five-eighth broke through Victor Radley and Brandon Smith to give stand-in centre Tyrone Peachey his third try in four games since re-joining the Panthers.
Peachey grabbed another try in the second half when Penrith went into party mode. Luai's running game was the most dangerous it has been this season and helped him cross for his first try of the season as the final minutes ticked down.
His performance throws the gauntlet down for Hynes, who will need to produce something special against Manly on Sunday to knock the Panther off his perch.
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