Roosters survive Knights comeback
A hat-trick from fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has helped the Sydney Roosters survive a Newcastle Knights second half revival to secure a 38-22 win, their eighth victory on the trot.
Leading 26-0 at half-time after well and truly dominating proceedings in the first 40 minutes, the Roosters weren't themselves immediately after scoring in the 41st minute, with the Knights managing to run four tries past them in the second half.
The shaky second-half performance came just nine days after the Roosters blew a 22-0 lead against the Bulldogs who managed to score 28 points before the Tricolours snuck away with a victory late.
Regardless, the riot the Roosters ran in the first half was enough to secure the two competition points and keep them in touch with the minor premiership.
Similar tries scored on either side of paddock by Daniel Tupou and Brendan Elliot in the eighth and 12th minutes kicked off proceedings for the Roosters.
Tuivasa-Sheck was next in the 30th minute when he strolled over almost untouched. Catching the Knights napping, the Roosters continued to highlight the poor defence of their opposition centres.
The Roosters custodian secured his second try five minutes later, rather controversially, when the video referee couldn't secure a camera angle with enough evidence to rule the fullback offside. Nonetheless, it didn't stop him jumping over the top of Beau Scott and Tyler Randell to score the points.
Kane Evans compounded the Knights' woes in the 37th minute, and secured a 26-0 half-time lead for his team, when he pounced on a loose ball after Newcastle winger Nathan Ross failed to a handle a Jackson Hastings bomb.
The Roosters kicked on from where they left off by scoring within 40 seconds of the second half. Making the most of a short defensive edge, a cut-out ball from Tupou back into a centralised Tuivasa-Sheck was enough to help him secure his hat-trick.
A try from Sione Mata'utia in the 45th minute came with very little respite, especially after losing Scott (foot) and Randell (eye) at half-time, when the Knights were denied their second try of the match thanks to an obstruction 13 minutes later.
The Knights wouldn't be denied a second time though when Joe Tapine pounced on a grubber from Tyrone Roberts, which was misread by Tuivasa-Sheck, to score his first ever NRL try in the 61st minute.
Another error from Tuivasa-Sheck three minutes later – after failing to grab a handle of a towering Knights bomb – fell straight into Gidley's hands, who was able to quickly pass it on for try-scorer Jeremy Smith to help cut the deficit to 14.
Gidley's try in the 70th minute was unexpected as he caught the Roosters napping on the edge to push Newcastle's case just that little bit further, but it was to no avail when James Maloney scored four minutes from time to seal the game.
"They had a lot of guys making a lot of effort in and around the ball," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.
"A lot of questions being asked. Hopefully, as a fan of the Knights as well, and Bedsy [interim coach Danny Buderus], I hope they can run off that second half into next week. I think that'll be what they'll be talking about. They played some good footy, some good combos they had there. They need to run into next week with that form."
Sydney Roosters 38 (Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 3, Daniel Tupou, Brendan Elliot, Kane Evans, James Maloney Tries; James Maloney 5 Goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 22 (Sione Mata'utia, Joe Tapine, Jeremy Smith, Kurt Gidley Tries; Tyrone Roberts 4 Goals) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 17,718. Half-time: Roosters 26-0.