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Roosters’ master manipulators deliver ominous NRL warning | Matt Cleary

Against Brisbane Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary showed just why their team are so highly rated

Ricky Stuart was right. When it comes to brickbats and bouquets dished out after games of rugby league, it is the halves who most “own” the result. They are the game’s playmakers, the quarterbacks. They are credited with Dally M points, they dominate pre-match conjecture, they are targeted, for good and ill, in post-match analysis. And while it might not be fair on them or their team-mates – halves can’t do what they do without a platform of possession and territory laid by others – as a wise man once said, it is what it is.

Sydney Roosters are NRL favourites for several reasons, not the least of which is that their halves, Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk, are the game’s premier playmakers, its master manipulators. On the back of physical ruck battles won mostly by their intense, brutish forwards, Keary and Cronk ritually dismantled the ragged, rattled and disappointing Brisbane Broncos at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday night. In the end it was Roosters 36, defeated Broncos 4. The gulf was Carpentaria.

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