Young gun Sam Walker paid tribute to James Tedesco's leadership after the pair combined to steer the Roosters to a convincing 28-0 win over the Eels in Mackay on Thursday night.
Walker continued his stellar debut season with a try, two line breaks and one try assist and Tedesco ran for 163 metres and had six tackle breaks as the Roosters joined the fourth-placed Eels on 28 competition points.
"Teddy has been huge. He's obviously a great footballer but he's an even better leader," Walker told Channel Nine.
"Some of the motivational things he does on that footy field, like taking two hit-ups in a row, really lifts the team and we get on the back of it."
Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves praised his team's grit after what was his 250th game for the club.
Match: Roosters v Eels
Round 20 -
Venue: BB Print Stadium, Mackay
"We've been under a fair bit of adversity this year, and just really proud of our troops, the whole club, the organisation," Waerea-Hargreaves said.
"We believe in our system, we believe in our playing squad, and to go through the adversity we've been through this year, just super proud.
"Strange times, tough times, but we stay together and we grind together."
With Tedesco, Walker and a rampaging Joey Manu leading the way the Roosters overcame a sloppy start to come away with their 13th win of the season, while the Eels sorely missed the attacking spark of injured halfback Mitchell Moses.
Bounce pass from Walker and Josh Morris steps inside to score the opener
After a string of errors by both sides it was the Roosters who struck first in the 25th minute when veteran centre Josh Morris celebrated his return to the side with the 157th try of his career.
The try was set up by 19-year-old Walker, whose long cut-out pass found Morris on the bounce and the centre cut back inside to get the Roosters on the board. A superb sideline conversion by Adam Keighran made it 6-0.
Three minutes later the Roosters doubled their lead when Tedesco surged into the back field and found Sitili Tupouniua in support.
Tupouniua made a powerful start to the game and the four-pointer was his 11th for the season. His previous best in a season was five in 2020.
Parramatta threatened to pull one back on the stroke of half-time when Dylan Brown took on the line and got through but Tedesco cut him down with a copybook legs tackle.
Walker stamped his class on the game in the 53rd minute when he took a pass from halves partner Drew Hutchison and used his speed to outstrip the Eels defence as the Roosters raced to an 18-0 lead.
Keighran had an opportunity to stretch the lead to 20 with 17 minutes to play but hit the post with a shot at penalty goal.
A dropped ball by Maika Sivo inside his own red zone then handed the Roosters field position and two sets later winger Daniel Tupou crossed to put the game to bed.
Tupou's 10th try of the season was laid on by some slick hands by Hutchison and Keighran, who enjoyed a solid night in the unfamiliar centre position.
Quick hands from Keighran and Tupou does what he does best
The Eels' embarrassment was complete when Manu caught the defence napping with a quick tap and raced 60 metres to score untouched.
The Roosters head into a blockbuster clash with Penrith next week full of confidence after keeping a team scoreless for the first time since round four last year when they beat Brisbane 59-0.
"I was stoked to keep them to zero there. It was awesome, it was good to get that zero," Roosters lock Victor Radley told Channel Nine.
"We dropped the ball, like 20-something times, but to keep them to zero, I'm stoked."
Tedesco described the first half as "weird" as the error rate mounted but he was impressed with his side's composure in the second half.
"We wanted to play some attacking footy in the first half but the errors were pretty bad so we just had to get back to our basics," Tedesco told Channel Nine.
"Once we got back to kicking to the corners and completing sets in the second half we created some momentum and scored some points.
"Over the last two or three weeks Sam Walker and Drew Hutchison have taken a lot of control and that's what we need.
"It has taken a bit of pressure off me when those boys step up and play some footy and I can play a natural fullback role."
Making matters worse for the Eels they lost prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard to a hamstring injury and centre Waqa Blake to a failed HIA.
The Roosters are now equal with the Eels on 28 points but still Brad Arthur's men by 43 on for and against.