A “scary” half-time spray from coach Brian Smith inspired the Sydney Roosters to a fifth victory of the season on Sunday, equalling their record for the whole of the 2009 campaign.
On a sweltering day at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, the Roosters scored a late try through Todd Carney to beat Wests Tigers 12-8 after being on the back foot for most of the second half in a low scoring but entertaining encounter.
It was a brave performance from the Roosters, who trailed a dominant Tigers side for 74 minutes before Carney pounced to score and silence the home supporters.
Smith was reluctant to discuss his half-time rant after the match, but captain Braith Anasta admits he was scared by the sight of his apoplectic coach.
“It was the first time he has sprayed us, we weren’t playing the best, our intensity was not there and it was good that he got up us,” Anasta said.
“It was a bit scary, I haven’t seen him like that before. But it worked, we all got a bit of a rocket and went out there and scored an early try and got back into the game.”
Anasta was put on report for shoving Tigers centre Blake Ayshford to the ground following a melee that started after Nate Myles was harshly penalised for what looked to be an legitimate tackle on Todd Payten.
However, Anasta says he is not worried about the prospect of a suspension.
“I haven’t been put on report for 10 years and I can’t believe I am on report for that, I am not too concerned but we will see what happens,” he said.
“Mylesy’s was a great tackle, I don’t understand why he gave a penalty, it was ridiculous.
“But it was big win for us and I am very proud of the boys.”
Smith says he is delighted with the way his players lifted in the second half and was pleasantly surprised with how his players had responded since his arrival at the club late last year.
“We are not there yet, and are still a long way from becoming a very good team but we are on the right track and and I have been pleased with the way the guys have reacted to us,” Smith said.
“It was pretty tough out there at times but we hung in there and got the late try.”
Smith says he was not overly impressed with the performance of Carney after he was moved from full-back to replace injured half-back Mitchell Pearce.
He feels his side missed Pearce’s on-field influence.
“I thought we were a bit rudderless at times but it is an indication of the high standard of football our guys play at this level,” he said.
“You can have top players like Carney and even (Anthony) Minichiello once or twice, looking out of sorts and looking like they don’t know what they are doing.
“But Toddy will be better for the experience of playing there today.”