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The Sydney Roosters stayed in touch with the top four after a 28-16 defeat of Newcastle at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Saturday night. It was a toughly fought encounter which slightly boiled over in the second half.
Newcastle were quick out of the blocks and led 4-0 after 7 minutes when recently re-signed halfback Luke Walsh opened the scoring. For the next five minutes, the Roosters had plenty of possession and it eventually took its toll on the Newcastle defence when centre Peewee Moke raced 40 metres to level the scores. In the 16th minute, Roosters five-eight Jeremy Gordon found his way through the Newcastle defence and with the subsequent missed conversion, had the Roosters leading 8-4. For the next ten minutes, each side had various opportunities to add to their scores, but desperate defence from both sides prevented that from happening. In the 26th minute, the home side hit the lead through a try to centre Alex McCosker after a perfect cut out pass from lock Joel Barton. In difficult kicking conditions, with the wind howling from the south-west, Walsh converted from the eastern touchline. This put Newcastle ahead 10-8.
Three minutes before halftime, the Roosters went ahead after a spectacular 95-metre effort. With the Knights on the attack, centre Brendan Hunt knocked on. Roosters winger Casey Conway scooped up the loose ball and with defence converging, threw a pass back to fullback Shaun Foley, who stumbled. As he was falling and about to go into touch he threw a pass to halfback Anthony Watts who realised he wasnt going to have the pace. He then found centre Shaun Kenny-Dowell looming up in support. He passed and then the centre raced 50 metres to score a sensational Roosters try. The Roosters went to the break leading 12-10.
A few minutes into the second half, the Roosters extended their lead to 16-10 when Luke Gordon scored. Four minutes later the Knights hit back through a try to Stephen Gordon, who pounced on a Luke Walsh banana kick. The conversion had the scores locked at 16. Ten minutes later, after some niggling tactics by the Roosters, the game threatened to boil over. Knights five-eight Mitchell Steel chased a kick from Walsh and as Roosters fullback Foley picked up the ball, threw out an arm. This caught the fullback around the head and several Roosters players ran in to get involved. After separating the two teams, referee Adam Neale sent the Knights five-eight to the sinbin, closely followed by Roosters halfback Anthony Watts. In the 56th minute of play, the Roosters received another penalty and hooker Gordon added the two points to put the Roosters ahead once again, 18-16.
To finish the match, the Roosters scored two tries in the final 5 minutes through lock forward Grant Millington and interchange forward Jack Rampling. This blew the scoreline out a little bit and the Roosters came away victors by 28 points to 16. For the Roosters, hooker Luke Gordon was one of their best, doing a mountain of tackling, scoring a try and kicking 2 goals. Fullback Shaun Foley was also impressive for the visitors.