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5 days ago
The underdog Newcastle Knights couldn't quite do the job at home tonight, falling short 18-16 against the Roosters in front of 18,029 home-ground fans at McDonald Jones Stadium.
In a competitive contest, it was the Roosters who dominated the opening exchanges, going over through Luke Keary after a sideline break by Latrell Mitchell from inside his own half. Taking a 6-0 lead after just a few minutes, the Tricolours then managed to turn it straight over to the home team.
Newcastle collected on a surprise early short kickoff and scored from the ensuing set - Sione Mata'utia leaving Roosters' defenders in his wake to claim the Knights' first of the evening.
Scores level at 6-apiece, Newcastle looked to gain some ascendency. After a few goes at the Bondi team's goalline, a penalty provided an opportunity for the hosts and it was Kalyn Ponga converting a penalty goal to put his side ahead 8-6.
Neither side would crack again after the 13th-minute two-pointer, until the 31 minute mark when Blake Ferguson crossed after sustained Roosters' attack on the Newcastle line. He went in off a set-play from a scrum, put into a perfect gap and grounding it before the dead ball line.
Having done enough to lead by four at the break, the Tricolours extended their lead after halftime, Ferguson climbing over in the corner after a defensive lapse just one Roosters set into the second stanza.
The visitors struggled to score again from there - only adding another penalty goal just after the hour mark, while the Knights brought it back to a six point gap then scored late through Ponga to make it a grandstand finish - but fell just short.
It finished with a two-point victory for the Roosters, who head back down the M1 and will host the Panthers next Friday, while Newcastle continue a cosy run of home games next weekend when they host the Storm on Sunday week.
Newcastle Knights 16 - Sydney Roosters 18
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 8 Sydney Roosters 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Blake Ferguson
2 points - Kalyn Ponga
1 points - Sione Mata'utia
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (16)
Tries: Sione Mata'utia, Kalyn Ponga
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Kalyn Ponga (2/2)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (18)
Tries: Luke Keary, Blake Ferguson (2)
Conversions: Latrell Mitchell (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Latrell Mitchell (1/1)