A double to in-form winger Blake Ferguson has helped the Sydney Roosters to an 18-16 win over a brave Newcastle Knights outfit at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Ferguson has now scored eight tries in 14 matches to be the leading tryscorer for the Roosters, who move to 9-3 for the season.
The Roosters players who backed up from Origin - Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco and Dylan Napa - all had strong games, particularly Tedesco, who proved just as elusive as he had at the MCG.
Tedesco had seven tackle breaks and ran for 176 metres to take a points decision in his head-to-head battle with Knights excitement machine Kalyn Ponga.
Rain earlier in the day made it a slippery track, but any chance of it being a dour affair were soon put to rest, with Mitchell setting up Luke Keary for a long-range try after just four minutes with an explosive run.
Match: Knights v Roosters
Round 14 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
A penalty off the restart gave the home side great field position, and they made the most of it, with Sione Mata'utia crossing to level the scores.
The home side then took an 8-6 lead through a Ponga penalty goal in the 13th minute and they preserved that lead thanks to a superb trysaving tackle by Slade Griffin on Isaac Liu four minutes later.
The Knights were dealt a cruel blow in the 27th minute when Jamie Buhrer left the field with a suspected ACL injury.
Ferguson's first try came four minutes later when he stormed onto a great pass from Keary to score and the Roosters took a 12-8 lead to the break.
The start to the second half was just as positive for the Roosters, with a rare Ponga error from a bomb gifting the visitors an attacking set on the Knights' line. At the end of the set, Ferguson went down the blindside from dummy half and steamrolled Ken Sio to score in the corner.
A penalty from the Roosters in front of their own uprights allowed Ponga to reduce the margin to 16-10, which seemed to lift the Knights. On a rare venture down the attacking end of the field, they were given some repeat sets, and ill-discipline from Dylan Napa resulted in his sin-binning.
The Roosters weathered the storm, enjoying the best of the possession at the Knights end of the field, even extending the score to 18-10 through a penalty while Napa was off the field.
The Knights refused to lie down and Mata'utia capped a fine game by making a bust on the right hand side and finding Ponga in support to bring the home side back to 18-16 but time would beat the Knights.
News & Notes:Blake Ferguson scored his second double of the season, the other one also coming against the Knights, in round three... the Roosters have now won six in a row against the Knights... Cooper Cronk played his 337th NRL game to move past Brad Fittler into sixth on the all-time list of games played... crowd 21,412