Brisbane’s season officially hit rock bottom during the week when coach Anthony Seibold and the club parted ways.
Some of the scenes on Friday night were embarrassing, including Darius Boyd watching Tupouniua stroll over for his second try.
One punter even plonked $300,000 on the defending premiers at $1.04 to triumph with the TAB. His $12,000 profit was assured well before half-time.
The combined scoreline between the two sides this season was 117-12.
“Winning is a scoreline, but if you’re not seeing stuff you want to really see, you won’t get anywhere,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
“That was better tonight. It’s not [the] finished [product], and don’t jump up and down and get too excited about a scoreline.
“But we’re getting better with the stuff we want to see.”
Tongan wrecking ball Tupouniua opened the scoring in the fifth minute when put into a gap by the always-brilliant James Tedesco.
He then turned provider when he trampled over a couple of Broncos defenders, then found Kyle Flanagan who found the world’s best player, Tedesco.
Tupouniua had another approaching the half-hour when he brushed past David Fifita as Boyd could only watch on from just metres away.
The 23-year-old Tupouniua has been a mainstay this year when so many of the club’s topliners have gone down injured.
It is fitting he wore the No.12 jersey at the SCG, the same number Williams wore with such joy during his first successful stint at the club.
Moments after his opening try Tupouniua earned huge praise from Andrew Johns on the Nine commentary.
“He’s an absolute beauty – the next 10 years in the NRL you will be seeing his name,” Johns said.
Robinson has also loved the steady rise of Tupouniua.
Williams has been slated for his highly anticipated comeback against Canberra next Saturday. Keary could return from a rib injury. So, too, Crichton from an injured knee.
When asked if fans would see Williams for the first time since 2014 next weekend, Robinson said: “I think so. We’ll have to get going next week, and the plan is to get him out there. We’ll assess that Monday and Tuesday. The plan is to get some guys back out there.”
Brisbane head home hoping they are not greeted by an empty Suncorp Stadium when they host table-toppers Penrith on Thursday night.
The Roosters-Raiders battle in the nation’s capital could go a long way to deciding fourth spot.
If the Roosters get into a mood like they did against the Broncos, they are entitled to start thinking about tossing Parramatta out of third spot. The Roosters, along with the Panthers, are the best team to watch in attack in the NRL.
Cordner had not been sighted in six weeks because of a second concussion he had suffered at training. The small but vocal crowd at the SCG gave him a hero’s welcome when he galloped on to the hallowed turf in bright white boots. They applauded again when he took his first hit-up a minute later.
He even had the hide to throw a pass for Josh Morris to score in the second half.
The only lowlight was a concussion suffered by Jake Friend. Friend was caught by some friendly fire from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, then finished off in the same play by a sickening knee from Brisbane prop Joe Ofahengaue.
Ofahengaue was placed on report and can expect a stint on the sidelines.
Robinson was unimpressed and said: “He remembers what happened and how it happened. I’m glad he didn’t go back out.
“There are ways to be tough in this game, and that’s not it … you don’t need that.”
At least baby-faced back-up hooker Freddy Lussick got the chance to play some big minutes.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.