NYC Knights edge Roosters in a thriller
The Newcastle Knights have scored twice in the final 10 minutes to secure a dramatic 22-20 comeback win over the Roosters in the Holden Cup on Friday afternoon.
The hosts looked home and hosed with a minute remaining and the Roosters pinned in their own half, only for the Tricolours to launch a frenzied final-play attack that looked certain to lead to points, only for Newcastle's scramble defence to drag Jarred Anderson down 10 metres short of the line.
A period of sustained pressure saw the Roosters open the scoring after seven minutes through winger Zane Blake who finished off a nice sequence of offloads to cross in the left corner.
Newcastle showed they were equally adept with ball in hand, hitting back through Mitch Andrews 10 minutes later with the winger going over untouched thanks to a brilliantly-thrown cut-out pass.
The see-sawing start to the match continued with the Roosters striking back through Jarred Anderson who charged on to a short ball from Lachlan Lam to give his side a 10-4 lead after 25 minutes.
The Knights wouldn't be outdone and levelled the scores six minutes before the break with interchange player Josh Ralph diving over after some nice lead-up play by skipper Tom Starling.
The change of ends did little to alter the script as the Roosters opened the second-half scoring after halfback Sean O'Sullivan dummied and stepped his way over from 10 metres out.
The tit-for-tat scoring finally came to an end when Roosters centre Kiah Cooper rose highest to reel in a cross-field kick to give his side some breathing room after 62 minutes.
The Knights simply would not go away and hit back through right centre Heath Gibbs who ran a perfect line and put on a big step to cut the gap to four points with seven minutes remaining.
Momentum was suddenly with the hosts, and spurred on by their parochial fans, Newcastle levelled the scores from the very next set when Hayden Loughrey stepped his way through before Kainoa Gudgeon knocked over the conversion to seal the comeback win.
Knights 22 (Mitch Andrews, Josh Ralph, Heath Gibbs, Hayden Loughrey tries; Kainoa Gudgeon 3 goals) def. Roosters 20 (Zane Blake, Jarred Anderson, Sean O'Sullivan, Kiah Cooper tries; Sean O'Sullivan 2 goals) at McDonald Jones Stadium. Half-time: 10-all.