19 Sep 2010

Roosters just one win away from the NRL grand final

9:29 am on 19 September 2010

The Sydney Roosters will challenge the Gold Coast Titans for a place in the National Rugby League grand final, after defeating the injury-plagued Penrith Panthers 34-12 in their semi-final match in Sydney.

After winning the wooden spoon last year, Sydney outclassed the under-strength Panthers and took a 12-nil lead into the half-time break, after tries to Mitchell Pearce and Braith Anasta.

But the Panthers had more to worry about than the scoreline during the first half, losing their centre, Michael Jennings, after he twisted his ankle in the fourth minute, and skipper Luke Lewis went off 20 minutes later after copping a knock to the head.

When the Panthers' second-rower, Gavin Cooper, limped off in the 37th minute, the visitors were down to just one man on the bench.

The Roosters made the most of Penrith's bad luck, and ran in another try just six minutes into the second half.

A comeback looked possible when Adrian Purtell scored for the visitors in the 62nd minute, but two tries in three minutes for Sydney put the game beyond reach.

Penrith's Wade Graham and Sydney's Sam Perrett both scored late tries.