After smashing Manly-Warringah and Wests Tigers in the first two weeks of their season the Sydney Roosters may have thought they were on a roll.
Their roll wasn’t anything more than a dream.
After all, there is a chance that the Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers could finish in the bottom two spots of the NRL table at the end of the season.
South Sydney quite possibly have the best squad in the game.
They were ready for their arch-rivals after a clash with the premiers at AAMI Park and a slug-fest against Manly in the mud at Brookvale.
The Roosters never looked like getting close to their enemies from across Anzac Parade.
Souths bossed the Roosters.
With Russell Crowe sitting up in the stands and Benji Marshall stretching, teasing, from the sidelines, the Rabbitohs rolled through and over the Chooks like they were nobodies.
This, in round three, was a far bigger wake-up call than what Souths did to the Roosters in September 2020.
Cody Walker scored in the 7th minute.
Then Dane Gagai and then Josh Mansour.
More alarmingly was the mindset of individual players for the visitors from Bondi.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, forever the leader of their pack, came onto the field and looked disinterested.
To explain what that means, JWH spent his first stint niggling, swinging arms and wrestling with opponents.
This wasn’t the enforcer we’ve known for the better part of a decade.
While JWH has always been known to walk a fine line – this JWH looked like he just wanted to hurt people.
Usually he does it with a finer bit of grace.
Then there was Daniel Suluka-Fifita.
A rookie with less first grades than fingers on his hands.
The kid was sin-binned for punching Jai Arrow in the back of the head while the Rabbitohs forward was face-down in the grass.
That’s not the Roosters.
Where did that come from?
He should be in NSW Cup next week and hopefully he copped plenty from his coach and his teammates.
You don’t do that if you’re a Rooster – especially if you’re a nobody starting your career.
Then there’s the injury concerns on their halfback Luke Keary who could have done his ACL in the dying stages at Homebush.
Coach Trent Robinson confirmed as much in the press conference.
If Keary is gone the Roosters are gone.
For all their depth and their swagger and designer club suits – the Roosters are still a football club and this football club is in trouble.
Rusty, the Hollywood legend, had Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Taika Waititi and Natalie Portman at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
What a night to show them how good his club is.
It’s a long way from when he dragged Tom Cruise to the Sydney Football Stadium in the early 2000’s to watch the battling Bunnies in front of a few thousand diehards.
Souths are on a charge to the grand final.
Wayne Bennett has them humming.
The Roosters are in trouble.
The 2021 NRL season just hit them straight in the face.
Welcome to the party, pals.