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The Roosters have started their Holden Cup premiership defence with back-to-back victories courtesy of a 34-12 win over the Bulldogs on Thursday evening. 

The Bulldogs got off to the best possible start when winger Alvin Maungaati finished off a slick backline move to give his side a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes. 

That's how the score stayed until the 23rd minute when a Jesse Marschke grubber clean bowled two Bulldogs allowing Adam Pompey to pounce on the loose ball just inside the dead-ball line. 

Pompey's four-pointer was the kick-start his side needed, and the Roosters hit the lead moments later when Victor Radley sliced straight through before unselfishly offloading to Sitili Tupouniua who scored next to the posts. 

A scrappy first half finished on a sour note with both sides coming together for some push and shove, with Bulldogs five-eighth Adam Keighran and Roosters centre Jarred Anderson sent to the sin bin for throwing punches. 

Marschke should have extended the lead seven minutes into the second half but butchered a golden opportunity when he spilled the ball with the line wide open. 

They wouldn't be denied moments later when Anderson made up for his earlier indiscretion with a powerful effort from dummy-half with his first touch back from the sin bin before Marschke scored untouched to make it 22-6.  

The Bulldogs pegged one back with 17 minutes to go when Morgan Harper burst through the middle and then found fullback Jayden El-Jalkh backing up on the inside to make it a 10-point game. 

There would be no fairytale comeback however, as Ben Marschke made the most of his late call-up with two late tries to seal the 22-point win.  

Roosters 34 (Ben Marschke 2, Adam Pompey, Sitili Tupouniua, Jarred Anderson, Jesse Marschke tries; Jesse Marschke 5 goals) def. Bulldogs 12 (Alvin Maungaati, Jayden El-Jalkh tries; Adam Keighran 2 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Half-time: 12-6.

This article first appeared on - Words: Martin Gabor