Roosters count the cost of injuries in thrilling Raiders win
Sydney Roosters withstood a valiant fightback from Canberra Raiders on the final day of the NRL's Magic Round, but were left counting the cost of injuries in a thrilling 30-24 victory.
Boyd Cordner suffered a heavy concussion, Daniel Tupou was taken from the Suncorp Stadium pitch on a medical cart with a neck injury and Latrell Mitchell hobbled off with a groin problem before making a surprise second-half return.
The reigning premiers stormed into a 30-6 half-time lead despite the spate of injury woes, with James Tedesco pulling the strings – setting up tries for Matt Ikuvalu and Cooper Cronk inside seven minutes.
Jarrod Croker responded for the Raiders – who themselves lost Jordan Rapana to a serious-looking knee injury – but Mitchell touched down for his first try after 21 minutes.
Tedesco was influential for Mitchell's second, yet the sight of the centre clutching at his groin was a concern for the Roosters.
Mitchell came back for the second half and Tedesco touched down to stretch the lead, before the Raiders fell short in an unlikely comeback bid with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jack Wighton and Michael Oldfield touching down.
South Sydney Rabbitohs remain level on points with the league-leading Roosters after a convincing 32-16 defeat of North Queensland Cowboys.
Sam Burgess, Cameron Murray and Kyle Turner scored in a barnstorming opening from the Rabbitohs, who saw their momentum checked by Justin O'Neill's quickfire brace before the break.
But Cody Walker and the brilliant Damien Cook, who set up three of his team's tries, re-established a convincing lead, which rendered Tom Opacic's late try a mere consolation for the struggling Cowboys.