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Easts Outclassed by Knights in High-Scoring Contest

A strong second-half from the Sydney Roosters wasn't enough to overcome the Newcastle Knights in Round 19 of the NSW Cup at Wentworth Park on Sunday afternoon, with the Tricolours falling 46-28 .

Returning to competition after making his NRL debut last week, Siua Wong claimed the Roosters opening try, while Brandon Smith made a strong return off the bench after recovering from a fractured thumb.

Following a strong opening nine minutes, Easts allowed the visitors into their territory with the second penalty of the game. The Knights took the opportunity to strike first, with their Captain Adam Clune providing a short ball to Dane Aukafolau who crashed over to score. Lachlan Miller converted from out wide to make it 6-0.

The following 12 minutes produced plenty of gritty, error-riddled football, before a penalty to Newcastle in front of the posts for tackling off the ball allowed Miller to add another two points to their lead.

In the resuming set, the visitors produced a spectacular 50-metre try with Dylan Lucas breaking the line through the middle, drawing in fullback Ethan King before sending David Armstrong over to score. Miller converted from in-front to make it 14-0 with 15 minutes to play in the first half.

With Easts attacking Newcastle’s line, a would-be intercept from Simi Sasagi was called back for a late tackle, giving the home side another attacking set.

The Roosters found their first points of the game after 30 minutes with a short ball from Drew Hutchison putting Siua Wong one-on-one with a defender, bulldozing over to score a try in his first game after his NRL debut. Jaxson Paulo successfully converted the try, cutting the deficit to eight.

Five minutes later, a line break down the middle from the Knights had them looking certain to score before Brandon Smith produced a brilliant chase-down try-saving tackle in his first game back from injury.

Newcastle found the line shortly after, with a play out the back that sent winger Laitia Moceidreke over in the corner, giving them a 18-6 lead at the break.

Just two minutes into the second half, the men from Bondi scored one of the tries of the season, as Cassius Tia made a break down the right side before being swarmed and dragged down by multiple defenders. 

In the process of being tackled, the young half delivered a no-look flick pass behind his back to Corey Allan who crossed the stripe. Paulo converted from the right of the uprights to reduce the deficit to six.

The visitors returned serve just a few minutes later when they put up an attacking kick close to Easts’ line with Aukafolau charging through to pick up the loose ball and score. The try was converted by Miller to make it 24-12.

Newcastle found the stripe after the restart, as Riley Jones scooted out of dummy half, engaging the defensive line before sending Armstrong through a gap. The Knights fullback drew in his opposing number 1 before offloading to Clune who crossed under the posts. Miller successfully converted the try, taking the margin to 18.

The Roosters crossed for their third try of the game through the masterful work of Brandon Smith, who doubled pumped out of dummy half to bait a rushing defensive line, allowing him to find Riley Meyn who had no one in front of him. Paulo converted from beside the uprights to bring the game back to 30-18.

Just three minutes later, the Tricolours scored once again with a perfectly executed play, as Meyn charged onto a short ball from Hutchison to break through the line before delivering a perfect spiral pass out to winger, Jade Anderson who crossed in the corner to cut the deficit to eight.

A error on the restart resulted in a penalty to Newcastle gave them back-to-back sets pressing Easts’ line. They took advantage of the opportunity through Armstrong, who tip-toed through the defensive line and accelerated over the stripe to score Newcastle’s sixth try of the afternoon. Miller converted to make it 36-22 with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Pressing the Roosters’ line once again, the Knights found another try with a slick play out the back going through the hands of their spine to find Krystian Mapapalangi who scored.

The Red, White, and Blue eventually had their own chance to attack their opponents’ line and eventually finding points when Hutchison sold a convincing dummy and twisted his way through a two-man tackle to plant the ball down. Paulo kicked the conversion to make it a 12-point ball game. 

Just a few plays after the restart, Easts looked ready to set up a grandstand finish as Xavier Chatfield-Mooka showed stunning speed to race 70 metres down the sideline, but the visitors got the ball back with a determined defensive effort to bundle him into touch just short of the try line.

With the final seconds ticking down, Newcastle produced a try with some quick hands through the backline that sent Hymel Hunt over to score, placing an exclamation mark on their convincing win. Miller converted from the sideline to secure a 46-28 victory to the visitors.

Sydney Roosters 28 (Siua Wong, Corey Allan, Riley Meyn, Jade Anderson, Drew Hutchison tries. Cassius Tia 1, Jaxson Paulo 3 goals) def by Newcastle Knights 46 (Dane Aukafolau 2, David Armstrong 2, Laitia Moceidreke, Adam Clune, Krystian Mapapalangi, Hymel Hunt tries, Lachlan Miller 6 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.