Sydney Roosters 29 (R Tuivasa-Sheck 2, S Kenny-Dowall, I Liu, J Friend tries; J Maloney 4 goals; J Maloney field goal)
Newcastle Knights 12 (J Smith, J Mamo tries; T Roberts 2 goals)
A valiant Newcastle Knights side gave the Sydney Roosters a scare , before a late flurry of tries saved the defending premiers blushes in a 29-12 win at Allianz Stadium in front of 9847 fans.
With the Roosters having found their best form of late, the lowly Knights were expected to be easy pickings, however the away side led at the break after a scrappy opening forty from the tri colours.
In a further sour note for the Newcastle side, coach Wayne Bennett confirmed that his future at the club was still in doubt, despite the knights financial state being made certain by the NRL’s ownership take over.
It has been a tough year for the Knights both on and off the field.
The team’s failure to post second half points against the Roosters saw them slip to their seventh consecutive loss, as well as the foot of the premiership ladder.
The trip to Sydney started well for Newcastle when they crossed the stripe first, the Roosters standing still in defence and watching as Jeremy Smith crashed over virtually untouched after just six minutes.
In the 17th minute of the game the Roosters tied up the match at 6-all, when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck showed his fancy footwork again, to step straight through the Knights defensive efforts. The play was assisted by a dummy run from Sonny Bill Williams, who kept the Knights sliding defence guessing.
The Newcastle side dominated the first half, and regained their six point advantage as the break neared, when young Jake Mamo claimed his first NRL try, burning his opposite number through a show of great speed down the right flank.
But as the second half began, the Roosters finally appeared to wake from their slumber. A James Maloney bomb in the 50th minute was spilt by James McManus, Tuivasa-Sheck cleaning up the scraps to again level the scores.
The Roosters again bombed towards McManus, this time via the boot of Mitchell Pearce. Sydney centre Shaun Kenny Dowell outleapt McManus, juggled the ball, before scoring and giving the home side the lead for the first time in the match.
And on the hour mark, the Sydney side just about wrapped up the points, when Pearce stepped in to the heart of the Newcastle defence, before offloading to Jake Friend who scooted over next to the uprights for a 24-12 lead.
A Maloney field goal made sure the Roosters would take home the points, before interchange forward Isaac Liu found himself in the right place out on the wing. A compressed Knights line ran out of numbers allowing the prop to post his first NRL try, and give the Roosters a 29-12 victory.