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Sydney survive Newcastle fightback
The Sydney Roosters have registered their first win since Round 4 with a 12-10 victory over a Newcastle Knights side that mounted a strong second half comeback at the SFS.
It was a case of winning ugly for last year's runners-up, who ended a six-week win less drought to claim their first competition points since April 3.
With both sides sitting outside the top eight, Roosters skipper Braith Anasta downplayed the quality of the match but spoke highly of his side's ability to hold the Knights to just two tries.
"It wasn't spectacular but a wins a win for us at the moment. Our defence was really good...we can take a lot of confidence from our defence," he said speaking to ABC Grandstand after the game.
It took Sydney until the 25th minute to open the scoring after a nice interchange of passing down the left hand side between Anasta, BJ Leilua and Shaun Kenny-Dowall saw Kenny-Dowall finish the movement under the posts.
Anasta's conversion took his side's lead to what would be the halftime score of 6-nil.
When both teams returned to the field, it looked as though Sydney would run away with the contest when Todd Carney beat some lazy Knights' defence with an inside ball to veteran Anthony Minichiello.
However, miraculously, Newcastle found a spark thanks to a flying Shannon McDonnell in the 59th minute - it reduced Sydney's lead to 12-6.
Sensing the change in momentum, Anasta attempted a field goal without success before the Knights surged back into contention after Peter Mata-utia flew high to claim a Jarrod Mullen bomb.
Wes Naiqama had the opportunity to level to scoreboard but his ensuing conversion was waved away. Anasta admitted Naiqama's missed kick could have proven the death knell for a tiring Sydney side.
"To be honest I don't think there was too much (energy) left. I suppose we were a bit lucky (with Naiqama's miss) today," he said.
Newcastle's attempts to keep the ball alive in the final seven minutes proved in vain, as the Roosters held on to record an important two point victory.
Sydney Roosters 12 defeated Newcastle Knights 10
National Rugby League - Round 11 - Sunday May 22, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Referee: Matt Checchin and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Russell Turner and Ricky MacFarlane
Halftime: Sydney Roosters 6 Newcastle Knights 0
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (12)
Tries: Anthony Minichiello, Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Field Goals: Braith Anasta (0/1)
Conversions: Braith Anasta (2/2)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (10)
Tries: Shannon McDonnell, Peter Mata'utia
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to the SFS for the clash between Sydney and Newcastle.
The form guide for both sides isn't all that pretty in recent times. The Knights have lost their last two, while the Roosters haven't won since April 3 against Wests Tigers. If they can get up today, they'll have to do so without their Origin representatives Nate Myles and Mitchell Pearce.
In the Under 20s, Newcastle triumphed 50-18.
Newcastle: Junior Sau and Richard Faaoso are out injured.
1 min: Kick off, we are underway at the SFS with Newcastle having first use of the footy!
4 min: Braith Anasta puts up a monster bomb and Shannon McDonnell decides not to take it on the full - fortunately he gets to the bounce but is pinned in the ingoal.
5 min: Roosters winger Steve Naughton get into some space thanks to a great long ball from Anasta but then Naughton's subsequent pass travels forward.
10 min: Sydney Roosters get six again, 20 metres out from the Newcastle line.
11 min: Great little grubber from Anthony Minichiello is cleaned up by James McManus - Sydney recieve another goal line dropout.
12 min: Aiden Guerra breaks through the line but Frank-Paul Nuuausala stumbles in support - he should have taken that pass and would have scored if he did. Newcastle survive.
16 min: We finally have the late team changes for both sides! Click on 'Team Lists' for the updated sides.
17 min: First touch for Jason Ryles and he gets hit in a bell-ringer from Antonio Kaufusi!
20 min: Roosters' attacking momentum in thwarted by a play-the-ball knock on from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Knights get off the hook yet again.
23 min: Shannon McDonnell is in some trouble for the Knights, looks to be a dislocated finger..
25 min: TRY
A nice interchange of passing down the left hand side between Braith Anasta, BJ Leilua and Shaun Kenny-Dowall sees Kenny-Dowall finish the movement under the posts. Anasta converts.
Sydney Roosters 6-0
27 min: BJ Leilua drops it in the play the ball off the kick off. Could it be the invitation the Knights need to hit back?
30 min: Todd Carney goes within inches of scoring off a Jason Ryles offload but just loses it before the line.
34 min: Wes Naiqama careers through some sideline reporters and into the signage, everyone comes out of it unscathed.
37 min: Still no change to the score, the Roosters have thrown 9 offloads to the Knights' 1 but just have the one try to show for their second phase play.
39 min: Sydney Roosters forward Willie Mataka throws an opportunity away - he had two men unmarked on his outside but decided to go himself.
40 min: Halftime: A low scoring forty minutes at the SFS - the Roosters have had the better of the attacking play but, with only one try to show for it, the Knights will probably be pleased with their effort in defence to this point.
Offloads: Roosters 12; Knights 3
Missed tackles: Roosters 9; Knights 14
Most tackles: Matt Hilder 25 (Knights)
Most metres: Shaun Kenny-Dowall 102 (Roosters)
41 min: Second half underway!
43 min: Sydney are just peppering Newcastle with bombs at the moment - they're struggling as they knock on again.
46 min: A great touch finder from Todd Carney brings the Roosters into the Knights half.
48 min: Wes Naiqama finds a hole on the fringe but he gets too excited and throws it over the sideline.
51 min: TRY
Todd Carney sends Anthony Minichiello over the line with a nice inside pass - smart play by Carney but lazy defence there from Newcastle. Sydney celebrate as if they've put one nail in the coffin - I tend to agree. Anasta converts.
Sydney Roosters 12-0
55 min: The Roosters now have Newcastle pinned in their own territory - they're in some big trouble here.
56 min: Todd Carney gets it away to Jake Friend but he's cut down by Beau Henry in a solid tackle.
59 min: Sydney's Justin Carney dies with the ball on the last tackle right on the last tackle - don't think he knew it was the sixth.
59 min: TRY
Game on from nowhere! Keith Lulia gets away from some ordinary Sydney defence before passing on to Shannon McDonnell in support, who streaks away. Wes Naiqama converts.
Sydney Roosters 12-6
62 min: The Knights have found a second wind! They nearly score again but Anasta with a beat try saver on Shannon McDonnell.
63 min: Jarrod Mullen attempts a 40/20 but a bad bounce and the presence of winger Steve Naughton saves the day for Sydney.
65 min: Crucial error from Braith Anasta gives the Knights the ball 45 metres out from the Roosters' line.
69 min: The Roosters are starting to run out juice as the Knights force a repeat set.
71 min: Sydney survive thanks to desperation from winger BJ Leilua - a penalty a few tackles later helps them out of their half.
72 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT Dewsbury Rams (NL1)
Braith Anasta goes for the one-point but the kick slides across the face of the posts.
Sydney Roosters 12-6
73 min: TRY
Jarrod Mullen's cross field kick is taken by Peter Mata-utia on debut! Wes Naiqama's kick misses.
Sydney Roosters 12-10
77 min: Three minutes to go now for the Knights, as Mata-utai makes a surge down the flank.
79 min: Newcastle keep it alive but they can't get through the Roosters' line and a knock on gifts possession back with the clock winding down.
80 min: Todd Carney drills the ball into touch, the Knights race to the scrum and they have 80 metres to travel with 40 seconds left.
80 min: Jarrod Mullen loses the ball from the scrum and that's the game for Sydney.
80 min: Fulltime: Sydney hold out a late second half Newcastle surge to win 12-10 but the Roosters were the better team, too much sideline-to-sideline play. However, by no means were Sydney at their best either.