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Superstar Joey Manu clocked up an NRL record 370 running metres as the Roosters overcame the absence of several big names to down the Knights 22-20 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Thursday night.

Shifting to fullback to cover for skipper James Tedesco, Kiwi running man Manu was supreme as the Roosters made it 13 wins in their past 15 games against Newcastle.

The home side struck first when halfback Jackson Hastings took the line on from close range and dummied his way past Victor Radley to get the Knights on the board.

Newcastle extended their lead in the 14th minute when the Roosters let the shot clock expire on a goal line dropout and Kalyn Ponga landed the penalty goal from in front of the posts for an 8-0 lead.

Three minutes later the Roosters hit back when Manu put Daniel Tupou over in the corner with a pinpoint long pass. 

Jackson Hastings Try

The Roosters then produced a superb team try with Brandon Smith darting out of dummy half before picking up Manu who found Luke Keary in support and the halfback delivered the final pass to Radley who raced away to score. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii converted for a 10-8 lead after 23 minutes.

With the visitors mounting another raid it was Kai Pearce-Paul and Hastings combining for a strong tackle to force a mistake from Lindsay Collins and the danger was averted for the Knights.

Roosters hooker Smith then carved the Knights up through the middle of the ruck and strolled over in the 32nd minute to stretch the lead to eight points as Ponga continued to struggle with a hip problem.

Daniel Tupou Try

With all the momentum going the Roosters' way it was Englishman Kai Pearce-Paul who turned the tide for Newcastle with a barnstorming run from the halfway line to set up a try that was finished off by Bradman Best. Taking over the kicking from Ponga it was Dane Gagai who landed the conversion to make it 16-14. 

The Roosters created the first opportunity of the second term when Tupou found space down the left side and kicked the ball back infield but the kick had too much on it and went dead to hand the Knights a seven-tackle set.

Manu came up with a neat grubber to earn the Roosters a repeat set 13 minutes into the second half but an obstruction call against Radley close to the tryline saw the Knights come away.

Come the 58th minute and the Knights looked to have regained the lead through Gagai but an obstruction call against Dylan Lucas in the lead-up saw the try denied by the bunker.

The Roosters then powered the up field and Collins surged towards the line but Pearce-Paul came up with another driving low tackle to force a knock on and the arm wrestle continued.

Daniel Tupou Try

Some quick work out of dummy half by Smith and great hands by Terrell May gave Tupou space to get over in the corner for his second of the night and Aukuso Suaalii's conversion from wide out made it 22-14 to the Roosters.

The Knights ensured a grandstand finish when Phoenix Crossland found space close to the line and sent an offload to Adam Elliott who scored under the posts. Gagai converted to make it 22-20.

From there the Roosters did enough to hang on despite the Knights coming close through Elliott as they launched a desperate final raid.

Match Snapshot

  • Joey Manu was supreme at fullback for the Roosters with 30 runs for 370 metres and 11 tackle breaks while Joseph Aukuso Suaalii ran for 228 metres from 22 carries with the ball. 
  • The teams came up with 13 line breaks between them for the game - six for the Knights and seven for the Roosters.
  • Roosters back-rower Sitili Tupouniua left the field in the 58th minute for a HIA which he failed.
  • Terrell May was huge off the bench for the Roosters with 174 run metres in 51 minutes of game time.

Victor Radley Try

  • Greg Marzhew played his 50th NRL game, returning after missing three matches with a wrist injury. He ran for 186 metres.
  • Back-rower Kai Pearce-Paul ran for 197 metres and had three tackle breaks for the Knights.
  • The Knights completed 16 of 17 sets at 94 per cent in the first half and finished the night with 34 of 39 at 87 per cent.
  • Knights centre Bradman Best has scored 10 tries in his past 12 games at McDonald Jones Stadium. He ran for 252 metres on the night.

Brandon Smith Try

Play of the Game 

The Knights' try just before the half-time break was set up by a hard-charging Kai Pearce-Paul, who left Nat Butcher and Connor Watson in his wake before shrugging off Joseph Manu and finding Kalyn Ponga in support. The fullback sent it on to Bradman Best who surged away to grab a crucial four-pointer.

Bradman Best Try

What they Said 

"I thought it was a really well fought out game between both teams, a lot of live ball, back and forth there, most of it was played in the midfield. A really good contest. If you create some ruck speed there, Brandon [Smith] is going to create some opportunities and the support of these guys, we ended up getting some momentum to get it to a good half-time score and then resumed in the second half so that was good." - Roosters coach Trent Robinson

Roosters: Round 6

"I have never heard booing like that at the end of a game so there must be something in it. Obviously the Kalyn one at the end stands out, you'd like to think that's a professional foul, sin bin, and we kick the goal, but whinging about this tonight isn't going to help anyone. There was some stuff we needed to do better and stuff I needed to do better, think I got the interchanges wrong in the first half. We have a really disappointed dressing room that fought bloody hard tonight and me whinging in here isn't going to help them." - Knights coach Adam O'Brien

Knights: Round 6

What's Next

The Knights tackle the Bulldogs at Accor Stadium in Round 7 while the Roosters open the round against the Storm at Allianz Stadium on Thursday.

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.