THE red, white and blue wall refused to crack on Friday night as the Sydney Roosters tackled their way to a gritty 6-nil victory over Canterbury – which includes Kiama products Brett and Josh Morris, who was playing his 250th NRL game.
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The same team that missed 37 tackles and were steamrolled up the middle by South Sydney seven days earlier were right up for this Thursday night clash at ANZ Stadium.
Latrell Mitchell powered his way to the try line in the fifth minute before the Bondi boys spent most of the night defending their own try line.
It was no surprise nearly every Roosters player was flat on their back when the full-time whistle blew.
A delighted Roosters coach Trent Robinson said afterwards: "Purists will love that game. I loved it.
"To see a team work as hard as that in defence, that's a footy game.
“That's a part of footy you should enjoy.
"It takes a lot these days to 'nil' a team.
“And to not even have the video ref, or a close [decision], it took some technique and effort.
"I thought if there was another five or 10 minutes, they would have kept going to defend that.''
Skipper Boyd Cordner said he always had the feeling his teammates would not cave and keep turning up for each other.
They miraculously made 52 tackles inside their own 20m, compared to being stopped just 14 times at the other end.
The effort was made extra remarkable given they defended without Mitchell in the first half when he was given 10 minutes in the sin-bin, then lost Jake Friend for virtually all of the second half because of a concussion.
The co-captain, whose form was a big talking point leading into the Dogs match, went low on good mate Moses Mbye and came off second best.
The pair grew up in Noosa, often playing backyard footy together, and even met for coffee at the start of this week.
Mbye showed concern for the Chooks co-captain, who was later assisted from the field.
The gritty win was just the blow-out Trent Robinson's men needed leading into next Wednesday's blockbuster Anzac Day clash against high-flying St George Illawarra.
Should the Saints beat New Zealand on Friday night, they will march to Allianz Stadium unbeaten all season.
Canterbury had their chances but simply couldn't crack the Roosters line.
While the Chooks were great, the Dogs did not throw a whole heap at them.
Their spirits were officially broken four minutes out from time when Josh Jackson's looping pass could not be grasped by Marcelo Montoya.
"I could never question their effort," coach Dean Pay said.
"Their effort is fantastic.
“There were three or four times we were one pass away from scoring.
“We got over the line four or five times but couldn't get the ball down.
"If we can jag one of those it's a different story."
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