Thunderbolts fall to Roosters
Melbourne Storm's U20 Thunderbolts have fallen 20-42 after a second half blitz from the Roosters in Sydney on Saturday evening.
Both teams appeared fresh in what was their first game in 20 days thanks to a Round 12 bye and last weekend's wild weather, but it was the Roosters who would celebrate the return to action with Nat Butcher playing a starring role with two tries and an assist.
It didn't take long for the Roosters to get on the board with a towering bomb causing all sorts of problems for Melbourne winger Joel Gittins allowing prop Poasa Faamausili to scoop up the loose ball and send Butcher in for the try.
Not to be outdone the Thunderbolts hit straight back through fullback Jesse Arthars after the livewire fullback backed up a break by lock forward Ben Halfpenny.
There were no shortage of points to be had at Allianz and it took the Tricolours just four minutes to respond, this time Butcher turning provider with a magical offload to send Lachlan Lam over for his first of the season.
The introduction of big man Josh Kerr gave the visitors a boost midway through the first half and it was his big bust through the middle that led to Angelo Leaupepe's burrowing effort from dummy-half.
The interchange prop forward continued his stellar start to the game with a late offload in traffic to set up winger Talor Walters for his side's third try of the half.
The first forty would finish the way it started with Kiah Cooper latching onto a Grant Garvey grubber to make it 16-all at the break.
It took seven minutes for the Roosters to break the second-half deadlock and it was a famous name around Bondi that did the job; Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck doing his older brother proud with some fancy footwork to dance through the defence and score.
Another player with an older brother at a rival NRL club joined the scoresheet just two minutes later with Grant Garvey backing up a big break down the left to score next to the sticks.
Down by 10, the Thunderbolts refused to die wondering and managed to hit back through Jacob Tonge after an earlier break by Jaiyden Hunt but a second try to Garvey 15 minutes from full-time killed off any chance of a late comeback.
Bench player Jarred Anderson capped off the fine team performance with his first try since Round 1 before Butcher crashed over in the final minute to round out the 22-point win.
Roosters 42 (Nat Butcher 2, Grant Garvey 2, Lachlan Lam, Kiah Cooper, Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck, Jarred Anderson tries; Ryan King 5 goals) defeated Storm 20 (Jesse Arthars, Angelo Leaupepe, Talor Walters, Jacob Tonge tries; Jesse Arthars 2 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Half-time: 16-all.
The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club.