The much hyped return of Mitchell Pearce to face his old club the Sydney Roosters turned out to be an unhappy home coming for the Knights captain as the boys from Bondi ran away comfortable winners 38-8 on a wet and miserable night in Sydney.
Newcastle were looking to keep their unbeaten start to season going and started the match well controlling possession in the Roosters’ half, despite this they were unable to take advantage and a missed penalty goal was followed up by a Latrell Mitchell try in the 7th minute which started the Knights woes. In that play Knights five-eighth Connor Watson dislocated his shoulder which forced him from the field a few minutes later, from that point on the Roosters controlled the match and despite the Knights crossing through former Rooster Aiden Guerra the Chooks never looked flustered as they replied with two of their own tries before half time.
Once again the Knights started the second half well and were camped down on the Roosters try line for 10 minutes as they came close to scoring on a couple of occasions, but their spirit and resolve seemed to break when an error by Tautau Moga was scooped up by Luke Keary who sent Blake Ferguson away for a long distance try which ended any chance of a Newcastle comeback. The Roosters finished the game with two more tries off the boot of Cooper Cronk who had the last laugh in the battle of the half backs.
Roosters try line defence
With a blow out scoreline it would be easy to say there were plenty of differences between the sides but in fact Newcastle played quite well at times, but the major difference between the two was each sides ability, or lack there of to defend their line. The Roosters repeatedly repelled the Knights’ attacks on their goal line especially at the beginning of either half which in the end won them the game, Newcastle on the other hand struggled to stop the Roosters once the Tri-colours entered their red zone.
Keary’s calming influence
He is often the ‘unsung hero’ of the Roosters side with a lot of his work going unnoticed by the average fan, but not yesterday as Luke Keary took centre stage setting up two tries and scoring one of his own. Keary showed all his skill and toughness to score a great solo try right after the Knights had brought the score line back to 12-8, but it was his chase of Cooper Cronk’s chip kick and flick pass to Victor Radley that had everybody talking about going into half time.
Back to reality for the Knights
After going into the season with so much hope and promise the Knights delivered with two late wins to start the season in perfect fashion, but the Knights came crashing back to earth after the thumping loss to the Roosters. In their two wins this season the Knights were able to paper over some of the cracks which still exist in their game but those cracks were made bare in this game especially their ruck defence, Newcastle has lost the ruck battle in both games this season but it hadn’t hurt them until this match.
Roosters pack bounce back
After copping plenty of criticism for their performances late last year and to start season 2018 the Roosters big men aimed up against the Knights pack and showed their younger counterparts they still have plenty to learn in the big time. Dylan Napa and Sio Siua Taukeiaho were outstanding in the early exchanges and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves responded well to his demotion to the bench by playing his best game in a long time.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
“Our goal line D held up really well tonight” – Trent Robinson
“We had a few players that just din’t show enough effort in doing their jobs” – Nathan Brown
” He’s a couple of plays ahead all the time” – Jake Friend ( on Cooper Cronk )
<TEAM A> <SCORE>
Tries: Ferguson 2, Mitchell, Warea-Hargreaves, Keary, Radley, Cronk
Goals: Mitchell 5/7
Drop Goals: n/a
Goals: Ponga 2/3
Drop Goals: n/a
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Reece Robinson, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu, 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Victor Radley
Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Tautau Moga, 5 Nathan Ross, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Jacob Lillyman, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Mitchell Barnett, 14 Brock Lamb, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 17 Daniel Saifiti, 19 Jacob Saifiti