The Sydney Roosters have continued to stake their claim for a top-four position by defeating the Newcastle Knights 28-8 at Sunshine Coast Stadium in a gritty and hard-fought victory.
James Tedesco was the star on a gusty night in the Club's first-ever match on the Sunshine Coast with two linebreaks, four try assists and four linebreak assists as the Tricolours claimed their third consecutive win following the representative weekend.
Match: Roosters v Knights
Round 19 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Despite being down to two men on the bench after half an hour and trailing 8-nil after fifteen minutes, the Red, White and Blue adjusted to the conditions to claim their twelfth win of the season.
The Roosters looked to flex their muscles in defence from the outset, with a number of physical clashes including a battering shot from Victor Radley on towering Newcastle winger Dominic Young.
Breezy conditions were immediately felt with a number of kicks failing to hit their mark on both ends of the field, and a kick out on the full followed by a lost ball saw Tedesco forced to employ a Captain's Challenge.
While the bunker deeming a lost ball applied further pressure, a forced error via a Sam Verrills tackle saved an early try, but the Knights struck first following a dubious call for a forward pass on Daniel Tupou.
With the try converted, the Knights held a 6-point lead after fifteen minutes.
Tedesco Puts Tupouniua Over
A forced change to the side saw Nat Butcher replace Billy Smith, and an overlap saw Newcastle score on the ensuing set - albeit via a fortuitous bounce of the ball - but the bunker once again intervened to deny the Novocastrians. A penalty for offside, however, allowed them to extend their lead to eight points after a quarter of the match played.
Showing plenty of defensive intent, the eagerness of the Roosters spilled over as they conceded back-to-back penalties, but the pendulum swung once again as the Knights made consecutive errors of their own - with Matt Ikuvalu coming within centimetres of scoring after the winger lost possession on the line as the Newcastle defence swarmed.
In the midst of an arm wrestle, Joseph Manu put it upon himself to wrangle back possession with a clever one-on-one strip, and his team's patience was rewarded as Sam Walker and Tedesco combined to put away hard-running back rower Sitili Tupouniua over for a four-pointer.
With less than ten minutes until half-time, the Roosters closed the gap to four points as the conversion was waved away.
Both sides traded obstruction penalties as yet another reshuffle was required with Ikuvalu taken from the field - but Easts employed some ad-lib play to equalise, with a fifth tackle run from Drew Hutchison saw Radley put Manu over with a thrilling no-look pass.
Another Tedesco Pass, Another Try for Tupou
Inspired by Italy's recent victory in the 2021 Euros, James Tedesco slotted his conversion through the uprights with a pinpoint curve to give his side a 10-8 lead as the sides headed into the sheds.
With the breeze now behind them, the Roosters forwards rolled downfield to start the second stanza but failed to convert their territory into points following poor execution.
A soaring Manu shut down an attacking raid from Newcastle, and after taking advantage of their field position the Knights failed to kick themselves out of trouble, Tupou got on the board as Tedesco threw a beautiful cut-out to his winger.
Roosters Go Bowling
With the conversion unsuccessful, the Roosters' lead grew to six as they took a 14-8 lead heading into the final quarter of the match, and their confidence would only grow from there.
Easts' patience allowed them to continue to build momentum, and despite an unfortunate bounce following a Manu grubber gave Newcastle a seven-tackle set, a damaging run from Tedesco parted the defence and Lachlan Lam - playing in the unfamiliar position of centre - extended their.
Tedesco was at it again with a near-identical break, and following a clever kick from Sam Verrills, Tupouniua crossed for his second after taking a short ball from his captain, who bowled over his teammates with an iconic try celebration.
A clever pass from Drew Hutchison then put Angus Crichton away, who combined with Tedesco to score in the dying stages of the match, capping off a well-deserved 28-8 victory.
Sydney Roosters 28 (Sitili Tupouniua 2, Joseph Manu, Daniel Tupou, Lachlan Lam, Angus Crichton tries; James Tedesco goal) def Newcastle Knights 8 (Jacob Saifiti tries; Jake Clifford goal; Jake Clifford penalty goal)
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