The Fremantle Roosters looked every bit a premiership contender as they defeated the Joondalup Giants 66-6 in Round 7 of the WA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership at Ken Allen Field on Saturday.
Looking to become the first team to win a three-peat of titles in 2019, the Roosters ran in eleven tries, including a hat-trick to forward Takaroha Penaha to set up victory.
After dropping their first game of the season, Fremantle have now won five in a row to sit only behind the unbeaten North Beach Sea Eagles on the ladder.
“It was a good performance from the boys,” Fremantle forward Bjorn Crotty said.
“The boys dug deep.”
Coming off a tight 16-14 win over the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs in Round 6, Fremantle welcomed back last year’s leading try scorer Manihera Eden and the Kiwi centre made an instant impact as he linked up with compatriot Delane Edwards who crossed for the first try of the game after just three minutes.
A sin-binning to Joondalup forward Daniel Smith allowed Fremantle to double their advantage as Penaha crashed over.
Leading 12-0, the Roosters stepped it up a gear to score three tries in the final seven minutes of the first-half as Mitchell Wade-Whalan, Cameron Rupapera and Tamaho Teirney all crossed.
Keen to inflict further damage to the scoreboard, Fremantle started the second-half as they did the first as Penaha completed his hat-trick before Edwards grabbed his second of the game.
A try to Brad Gibson brought up the Roosters’ half-century before Eden capped off the win with a pair of late tries.
Caleb Reedy scored a try on the siren for Joondalup, but it was a mere consolation as the visitors slipped to a third-straight loss.
Fremantle goalkicker Crotty kicked a perfect 9/9 from the tee to pass 50 points for the season.
“I think I’ve worn these new boots in,” Crotty said.
“It does help to get them over the posts – you never know at the end of the season you might need those points.”
In other results around the grounds, the Rockingham Sharks edged the Willagee Bears 26-22 while the South Perth Lions defeated the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs 30-22.
Fremantle Roosters 66 (Tries – Edwards (2), Penaha (3), Wade-Whalan, Rupapera, Teirney, Gibson, Eden (2). Goals – Crotty 9/9, Sollet-Mackey 1/1, Wade-Whalen 1/1)
Joondalup Giants 6 (Try – Reedy. Goal – Martin 1/1)
Precinct Player of the Match: Delane Edwards (Fremantle Roosters)
Roosters: 1. Delane Edwards, 2. Mitchell Wade-Whalan, 3. Regy Manu, 4. Manihera Eden, 5. Cam Rupapera, 6. Tamaho Teirney, 7. Cassius Read, 8. Brad Gibson, 9. Blake Hignett, 10. Kallin Hereu, 11. Ezra Taomia, 12. Duane Butler, 13. Bjorn Crotty, 16. Niku Sollet-Mackey, 17. Takaroha Penaha,. 19. Tarin Katu, 20. Aaron Hodges
Manager – Zac Speir
Giants: 1. Brenton Scott, 2. Bryce McRobert, 3. Samuel Defiddes, 4. Kukutai Jones, 5. Mark Huiswaard, 6. Davey Martin, 16. Caleb Reedy, 8. Nathan Searle, 19. Te Wheoro Jones, 10. Adam Smith, 11. Daniel Sneddon, 12. Keanu Te Tai, 13. Daniel Smith, 7. Chase Murray, 14. Connor Favell, 18. Samuel Samuela, 22. Joshua Houghton
Coach – Gus Marshall