Despite a gallant display, Saints were unable to capitalise on multiple opportunities and good field position and were ultimately punished by a ruthless Sydney Roosters which saw them win 20-12 in the World Club Challenge.
Saints came out flying and took the lead in the sixth minute through Luke Thompson, who did brilliantly to grasp Theo Fages’ low pass to touch down to the right of the sticks. He then played the short pass for Thompson to score. Tommy Makinson added the conversion to give the Saints an early 6-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last for long, as Daniel Tupou went over in the left corner for the visitors, after the Roosters played the ball wide from the centre following a penalty deep in the Saints half. Kyle Flanagan kicked the conversion against the stick so Saints maintained a 6-4 lead.
Sydney looked to add their second in the 17th minute as they broke, passing the ball towards the right wing despite what looked like at least one high tackle in the build up, but Brett Morris dropped the ball with the try line begging.
Nevertheless, the Roosters did take the lead in the 22nd minute, Joseph Manu scoring in the right corner after the Roosters had men over following a good break down the middle by danger man James Tedesco. Flanagan hit the bar this time leaving the score 8-6 in favour of the visitors.
Saints began the second half in similar fashion to the first and were nearly rewarded for their efforts as Makinson dived through two bodies towards the line on the right hand side, but the video referee ruled that he was held up short.
Saints continued to crank up the pressure, but were unable to make it count, and were punished for this in the 61st minute as Manu scored in the corner for his second of the game, after some fast play towards the right hand touchline.
Another chance went begging in the 67th minute, as Lomax recovered a poor offload and launched a long pass out to Makinson on the wing, but Makinson was unable to collect the ball and Sydney survived again.
Saints suffered as a result, as Siosiua Taukeiaho broke down the middle against the run of play, before playing the ball to Luke Keary who was free to run the last 40 metres to score. Taukeiaho added the conversion to give the Roosters an 18-6 lead.
Taukeiaho added another two points with a penalty in the 73rd minute after the Saints were penalised within their own 40, stretching the Roosters lead to 20-6.
Saints scored a well deserved second consolation with three minutes to go, Alex Walmsley powering through three defenders to score to the left of the sticks, and Makinson made no mistake with the conversion. However it was a clinical Sydney Roosters who emerged victorious and Saints were left to rue what might have been.
Saints 13: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, James Bentley, Matthew Costello, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dom Peyroux, Morgan Knowles
Interchanges: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Matty Lees, Joseph Paulo, Aaron Smith
Tries: Thompson, Walmsley
Goals: Makinson (2)
Sydney 13: James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Angus Crichton, Joseph Manu, Brett Morris, Luke Keary, Kyle Flanagan, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Siosiua Taukeiaho, Sitili Tupouniua, Mitchell Aubusson, Victor Radley
Interchanges: Sam Verrills, Isaac Liu, Nat Butcher, Lindsay Collins
Tries: Tupou, Manu (2), Keary
Half time: 6-8
Full time: 12-20