Sonny Bill Williams made his NRL return but James Tedesco was the star as the Sydney Roosters marched toward the top four by beating Canberra 18-6.
In the most hyped NRL return in years, Williams played 14 minutes on Saturday night after being booed onto the field by Raiders fans when he entered the game in the second half.
He was hit hard by Dunamis Lui on his first touch but still managed to get an offload away for Luke Keary and finished with four touches in the middle.
"It was pretty fast but I expected that," Williams said.
"I have never played in the middle in my whole career so it was nice just to get out there and feel the lungs.
"I think we did three sets of six in a row defensively, so that has definitely changed.
"I loved being back here, being back involved in the game I love playing."
The dual-international left the field with eight minutes to play, getting some valuable game time in his first action since he turned out for the Toronto Wolfpack in March.
But it was all the Roosters could have wanted, with his return going exactly to Trent Robinson's plan.
"That was a good opportunity to get him out there, to get him uncomfortable and get some combos going," the Roosters coach said.
"He's not a middle defender ... but that's what the team needed from him and he knew that.
"We'll keep working with the combinations in the team.
"There are obviously other ways to use him on the edge."
While Williams was the focus in his first NRL game in six years, Tedesco was again the standout.
The champion fullback bagged a double, ran 198 metre and finished with a ridiculous 13 tackle busts.
His second try was the most important of the match, taking the Roosters' lead to 12 midway through the second half and giving them complete control.
The win momentarily moved the Roosters to third and, given their superior for-and-against, wins in two of their remaining three games would wrap up a top-four spot.
Luke Keary and Angus Crichton got through their returns from injury unscathed while Jake Friend sat out the match through concussion.
Canberra, meanwhile, were left to rue their missed opportunities, scoring just one try despite 38 play-the-balls inside the Roosters' 20-metre.
Their path to a second successive decider is now far tougher.
They'll finish the round in fifth and staring down the barrel of needing to play 22 weeks straight if they want to reach the grand final and lift the premiership.
Their biggest weapon Josh Papalii finished the game with an injured shoulder, not returning in the second half.
"We'll find out how serious it is," coach Ricky Stuart said.
"For Josh not to come back on, he was obviously feeling it.
"I was really disappointed with the second half, we were two different teams."
Tedesco laid the first blow for the Roosters in the sixth minute before the Raiders' lone try came when John Bateman grubbered for himself.
But the Roosters regained the lead when Daniel Tupou crossed and never let it go.