The Sydney Roosters have justified their tag as competition favourites after defeating the Newcastle Knight 38-12 in an exciting match at Hunter Stadium in front of 22,847 fans.
The match hung in the balance until the 73rd minute when Boyd Cordner scored to extend the Roosters' lead to 10.
The intensity of the match was apparent from the opening minutes with the forward packs from both sides clearly lifting.
Sonny Bill Williams and Willie Mason made apparent there was no love lost. between the two former teammates. The two clashed on several occasions early culminating in Williams being placed on report for a shoulder charge on Mason.
Shaun Kenny Dowall opened up the scoring the 18th minute of a Mitchell Pearce bomb which was too much for the Knights'. James Maloney added the extras to give the Roosters a six-point-lead.
It was opposition player Darius Boyd scoring off a Pearce bomb only three minutes later, Boyd plucked the Pearce bomb out of the air 15 out from his own line before racing 85 metres to score. Tyrone Roberts added the extras to level the scores.
It was Michael Jennings scoring against the run of play in the 31st minute, the NSW centre, intercepted a Jarrod Mullen pass 10 out from the Roosters' line before racing away to score. Maloney added the extras.
The Roosters took that six-point lead into half-time. Boyd did not have the same luck diffusing Pearce's bombs in the second half, the Knights fullback knocked on a Pearce kick 10 out from his own line. An Isaac Liu offload and some clever play from Daniel Mortimer saw Sam Moa go over the tryline. Maloney added the extras to extend the Roosters' lead to 12.
Despite trailing by 12-points the Knights never looked out of the match and it looked like an upset might be on the cards when James McManus went over the in the corner. However a failed conversion from Roberts took a little pressure of the Roosters.
After four back-to-back penalties a few metres out from the Roosters' line, the Knights opted to go the the two in the 69th minute to narrow the margin to six.
A penalty against the Knights a few minutes later put the Roosters on the attack for the first time in awhile and the Roosters didn't waste opportunity, after forcing a line drop out at the end of the set James Maloney put Cordner into a cap to all but seal the win.
A short kick off almost paid of for the Knights, but an accidental offside following a dropped ball from Robbie Rochow gave posession and the game to the Roosters.
Williams put the icing on the cake in the 77th minute minute with a try.
Both sides will back be backing up on Friday, the Knights will be back at Hunter Stadium to host the Broncos, while the Roosters take on the Panthers.