The Fremantle Roosters scored 40 unanswered second-half points to record a 44-30 win over the South Perth Lions in Round 12 of the WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership at Ken Allen Field on Saturday.
Trailing 20-4 at half-time, the Roosters piled on seven tries after the break to notch their third win in a row to leave Manager Zac Speir relieved.
“We spoke earlier in the week about structure and we didn’t do that in the first-half at all. In the end, we finally stuck to our structure and it proved we’re going to score points on the back of it every time,” he said.
“The boys know they can play better than they did in the first-half, and all they needed to do was get back to the structure.”
In a game of two halves, the Lions jumped out of the blocks, grabbing three tries in the opening quarter of an hour.
Tries to Scott Jones, Bruce Anderson and Kade McDonald gave the visitors an early 14-0 lead.
The Roosters struggled to get their hands on the ball and found opportunities hard to come by.
Having scored 12 tries against the Rockingham Sharks last weekend, it seemed only a matter of time before the home side would click, however, and on the back of a penalty, Tarin Katu barged over to put the Roosters on the board after half an hour.
The Roosters almost went back-to-back but for some poor decision making in the attacking third.
South Perth made them pay on the stroke of half-time – McDonald grabbing his second of the afternoon after an acrobatic finish in the corner that any NRL winger would have been proud of.
With their backs against the wall, the Roosters came out a new side after the change of ends – Sonny Kerr pouncing on Delane Edwards’ grubber kick into the in-goal within three minutes of the restart.
Kerr was again involved just two minutes later as his looping cutout pass found Manihera Eden who put on the afterburners to make it a 20-16 ballgame.
Tempers started to flare as the Roosters began to claw their way back into the contest – South Perth’s Karl Harding and Ethan Gourgaud sin-binned for fighting with Fremantle hooker Simon Tabakanaca.
With the game 11 on 12 in favour of the Roosters, the hosts took full advantage as they hit the lead for the first time in the game after Edwards shrugged off a couple of Lions defenders to touch down under the sticks.
With their tails up, further tries to Daniel Tuimoala and Jason Nicholls put the Roosters in control before Katu and Edwards both grabbed their doubles to cap off a scintillating second 40.
South Perth hit back with two consolation tries in the final minutes, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them slipping to their second defeat in a row.
In other games around the grounds, the North Beach Sea Eagles remain top after overpowering Rockingham 48-0, while the Joondalup Giants made it two in a row after a 44-10 win over the Willagee Bears.