The Sydney Roosters have continued their push to the finals with a dominant 42-12 victory at McDonald Jones Stadium against the Newcastle Knights.
The Tricolours' performance was spurred by Captain James Tedesco, who produced one of his finest outings of the season with over 300 running metres, a try, three linebreaks, two try assists, two linebreak assists and 10 tackle breaks.
Match: Knights v Roosters
Round 19 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Luke Keary and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves made successful returns to the side following a number of weeks on the sidelines, with the playmaker opening the scoring after backing up a long-range effort.
In yet another personal milestone, winger Daniel Tupou joined legendary Captain Brad Fittler in the top ten most capped players for the Club, making his 217th appearance in Red, White and Blue and adding another two tries to his tally.
The Tricolours ran out to hostile conditions, with the deluge in Sydney throughout the week failing to travel up with the side in ideal weather for Rugby League.
Watson Gives Keary the Perfect Return Present
Matt Lodge showed plenty of intent in his first carry in the starting side, soon joined by the returning Waerea-Hargreaves, however, their enthusiasm got the better of the visitors, with the Knights sent downfield through a penalty on the next set.
The Bondi Wall was tested early, and a kind bounce of the ball saw winger Joseph Suaaalii streak away downfield before James Tedesco was caught just fifteen metres out, only for the Steeden to come free from the Captain's grasp.
A dubious penalty for a late tackle soon after saw the Knights opt for an early lead with a penalty goal, with a two-point difference after a frantic first six minutes.
Right Side Fires and Suaalii Goes Over
Waerea-Hargreaves looked to inspire his side with a number of bruising hits, however, the ill-disciplined start continued for both sides with the Roosters missing an opportunity at their own end as the Knights mounted pressure.
The Bondi Wall held off raid after raid before Connor Watson made his impact felt against his former side to burst through the line and send Luke Keary over for the first try of the match, with the lead now in their favour 6-2.
Suaalii Flies for Tedesco's Try
The Roosters then rallied on both sides of the ball; Tedesco went close only for the goalpost to intervene on a kick before setting up Suaalii for his eleventh four-pointer in as many games thanks to some quick hands.
Both sides were guilty of handling errors as the final ten minutes of the first half loomed, but Tedesco was rewarded for his own efforts as a break eventuated in Suaalii repaying the favour to hand his Captain an easy try from a towering bomb.
Fancy Work on Last Gifts Tupou
Unable to extend as a forced pass and high tackle handed the Novocastrians one last shot at scoring, the Roosters took a handy 16-2 lead as the sides headed into the sheds after a scrappy yet entertaining first half.
Victor Radley came inches away from extending only for the final pass to go to the ground, but they wouldn't have to wait long as a Keary cross-field kick saw Daniel Tupou to add his name to the scoresheet, with the lead now at 20 points.
Slick Hands Gives Suaalii His Double
In danger of a momentum shift after possession was lost on the ensuing set, desperate defence failed to yield and soon enough clever ball playing from Paul Momirovski put Suaalii over for his brace as the teen winger soared over.
Continuing their point-scoring run into the final quarter of the match, dissent saw the home side down to twelve men and Easts pounced, with Tedesco producing a miraculous one-handed pass to put Tupou over again as the scoreboard hit 30.
Crichton Goes Over
Desperate to get over the line, Newcastle were unsuccessful in challenging a knock-on, and it was slick passing from Sam Walker that sent Angus Crichton over before a Tedesco burst on the following set saw Egan Butcher charging in.
In a disappointing final ten minutes, the Roosters allowed their opponents to cross twice in quick succession, however, the end result saw Trent Robinson's men record a 30-point victory to continue their charge to the finals.
The Sydney Roosters will be back in action next Thursday night at Brookvale Oval against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles as the two sides contest for the Gotcha4Life Cup.
Butcher Backs Up and Scores
Sydney Roosters 42 (Joseph Suaalii 2, Daniel Tupou 2, Luke Keary, James Tedesco, Angus Crichton, Egan Butcher tries; Sam Walker 5 goals) def Newcastle Knights 12 (Phoenix Crossland, Edrick Lee tries; Anthony Milford goals; Kalyn Ponga penalty goal)