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Ill-Discipline Cruels Roosters in SCG Return

The Sydney Roosters have been defeated 20-6 in their opening round match against the Newcastle Knights in what was a frustrating afternoon at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Following nearly 300 days away from home, the Roosters made their long-awaited return to the SCG, however an error-filled contest saw the side unable to gain momentum and overcome their opponents.

In a positive for the Tricolours, Luke Keary and Lindsay Collins made strong returns from ACL tears suffered in early 2021 and welcomed back Paul Momirovski and Connor Watson who made their long-awaited second debuts for the Club.

With the Roosters' faithful back at the SCG in full force and the sun shining down on the hallowed ground, season 2022 kicked off ironically with a shaky kick-off, which was received by the Red, White and Blue.

Donning the socks of the Mullumbimby Giants in support of the recent flood disaster, Easts began with plenty of vigour in attack and defence, but an early error from their own 20 handed their opponents the first chance to score.

Billy Smith made his presence known with a big hit on Dane Gagai as Sam Walker cleaned up a dangerous grubber, with the Bondi Wall surviving its first test.

A penalty on Smith soon after saw the Tricolours within striking distance for their first points of the afternoon, only for the cobwebs of pre-season to be on show through a loose carry - a sign of things to come. 

Just as the Roosters looked to have scored an emphatic try to kick-start their campaign, James Tedesco was cruelly denied by the bunker - with the Chookpen venting their disapproval with Connor Watson found to have impeded in the line.

The ensuing penalty coupled with a six-again call saw the defence under pressure again, but Tupou's poise saw the experienced winger collect the bouncing ball.

Lindsay Collins threw himself into the action with a number of big collisions as the Roosters found themselves in an arm wrestle - but it was a wayward bounce giving the Knights the first points of the afternoon as Gagai crossed the line. 

Following the conversion in front, Newcastle took a 6-nil lead after sixteen minutes. 

Just as they looked to break the line on the ensuing set, a Kalyn Ponga pass went astray and the Roosters were back with the ball, with Keary mounting pressure and forcing a drop-out - only for a big hit on the following set forcing the ball free.

Needing to tighten their structure and complete their sets, experienced front rower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves entered the fray, while Victor Radley looked to inspire his troops with a brutal hit on Jake Clifford. 

Poor handling continued to cruel the enthusiastic Roosters, and although Lachlan Fitzgibbon broke through the line, it was Tedesco to the rescue as the fleet-footed fullback stopped the barnstorming backrower in his tracks, before cleaning up a fifth-tackle grubber.

Tedesco's Brilliant Try-Saver

Another try-saving effort - this time from Paul Momirovski - saw Easts deny further points, but another dropped ball came back to haunt them as Newcastle made them pay with Enari Tuala dotting down in the corner.

With just over five minutes remaining in the first half, the Knights took a 10-nil lead. 

The Novocastrians' enterprising style soon found themselves downfield and placing further pressure, but an error on halfway gave the Tricolours one more roll of the dice before the break.

Unable to cross the line, the Roosters headed to the sheds with their first points of the season coming from a Sam Walker penalty goal - with the scores at 10-2 in favour of the Knights.

Tedesco's 70-Metre Drop Out

Needing a reversal in fortunes, Trent Robinson's men found themselves on the back foot early in the second half as Gagai broke clear, but the defensive pressure saw his resulting pass go to ground in an early let-off. 

The side came under further pressure as Angus Crichton was taken into touch on halfway, and while the Knights piled pressure through wave after wave of attacking the line, the resolute Bondi Wall held firm.

With points waiting to be scored, the Red, White and Blue called a successful Captain's Challenge in a bid to retain possession - but further errors and penalties added up, and it was Jake Clifford who scooped up a loose carry to score under the posts. 

Converting his own try, Clifford's goal saw the Knights take a 16-2 lead heading into the final quarter of the match. 

Momirovski Scores Late

Easts continued to push their opponents as a right-side shift sent them downfield - and with Sam Walker taken out as he kicked through the line, Newcastle were down to twelve men as Phoenix Crossland was sent to the sin-bin. 

Points may have eluded the side on that occasion, and while they found themselves under pressure through a forced drop out, Tedesco ensured the Knights would have to work their way back with a booming kick that pinned them in their own half. 

Heading into the final ten minutes, the Roosters failed to yield, and a penalty in the ruck opened a prime opportunity to claw their way back - but their opponents' defence continued to deny the Red, White and Blue. 

In an afternoon to forget, the Knights crossed once more in the shadows of full-time, and while Paul Momirovski found himself on the scoresheet, the final scoreline read 20-6 in favour of Newcastle. 

The Sydney Roosters take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at the SCG next Friday night in what is expected to be a blockbusting match against our fierce rivals. 


Sydney Roosters 6 (Paul Momirovski try; Sam Walker penalty goal) def by Newcastle Knights 20 (Dane Gagai, Enari Tuala, Jake Clifford, Dominic Young tries; Jake Clifford 2 goals) 

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.