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A masterclass from Roosters halves Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk has seen the Knights fall to a disappointing 38-8 loss at Allianz Stadium.
Tensions were high on Sunday night as the Roosters braced for several former teammates when they took on the undefeated Knights at Allianz Stadium. It was the home side who opened the scoring after a shift left saw Luke Keary put Latrell Mitchell through a hole in the 6th minute. The points began to dry up shortly after, however, as torrential rain began to pound Allianz Stadium. Consequently, a penalty for offside in the 22nd minute saw Kalyn Ponga and the Knights opt for the two points.
Despite the weather, the Roosters continued to threaten and the home side extended their lead in the 28th minute when Cooper Cronk bomb was batted back by skipper Boyd Cordner into the hands of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Easts were in control, yet a mistake off the ensuing set by Reece Robinson gifted Newcastle prime field position and they took advantage when Aidan Guerra pounced on a Mitchell Pearce grubber to reduce the deficit to four.
Just as the Knights appeared to be back in the match, however, a mistake by Herman Ese'ese handed possession back to the hosts and they capitalised. Cronk went short to Keary who took the line on and crashed over the attempted tackle by Brock Lamb to plant the ball down. The Roosters left the best until last, however, with Keary starring again in a stunning team effort in the 39th minute. Cronk chipped for the Roosters five-eighth who raced through and collected the ball before offloading for utility Victor Radley to score with half time looming. As a result, the Roosters headed into the sheds with a dominant 24-8 lead.
The Knights had a few opportunities to strike early in the second half yet both tries sent up to The Bunker were denied. The difference between the two sides in the first half was that the Roosters were superior in taking their chances. This was evident in the 49th minute when a dropped ball by Tautau Moga was scooped up by Cronk who directly went on the attack, linking with Joseph Manu. The centre sprinted away and later linked with Blake Ferguson to see Trent Robinson's men take a 30-8 lead early in the second forty.
Just five minutes later the Roosters added to the flow of points after Cronk put in an early grubber and snatched the loose ball to score next to the posts. The Roosters' halves were dominating proceedings and continued to impress with Cronk featuring again, this time setting up a sprinting Ferguson off a deft kick in the 66th minute.
Frustrations boiled over for the away side in the 77th minute when Tautau Moga was sin-binned for holding down Radley after the utility sprinted away before being tackled just shy of the try line. However, the Roosters were unable to take advantage of the one-man overlap with the Tricolours claiming a dominant 38-8 victory.
Next week the Roosters look for three-straight wins when they take on the undefeated Warriors at Allianz Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Knights attempt to bounce back against the table-topping Dragons at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Sydney Roosters 38 - Newcastle Knights 8
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Halftime Score: Sydney Roosters 24 Newcastle Knights 8
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Luke Keary
2 points - Cooper Cronk
1 points - Blake Ferguson
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (38)
Tries: Latrell Mitchell, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Luke Keary, Victor Radley, Blake Ferguson (2), Cooper Cronk
Conversions: Latrell Mitchell (5/7)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (8)
Tries: Aidan Guerra
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Kalyn Ponga (1/2)