In a match featuring no more than 10 current and possible New South Wales State of Origin players, the Sydney Roosters have secured a spot at the top of the NRL table with a hard fought 16-14 win over the Newcastle Knights at Energy Australia Stadium in front of almost 20,000 vocal novocastrians.
Poor handling played it's part, with both teams struggling to put a complete set of six together when it was needed most.
Braith Anasta did his chances of an Origin recall no harm with three bombs resulting in three tries for his side, as well as a desperate intercept on his own line with the Knights on the attack looking to win the match at the death. The Roosters opened the scoring in the 25 minute from an Anasta bomb, Setaimata Sa and Cooper Vuna competed for the ball in mid-air, knocking it into the ingoal area for David Shillington to scamper through and dive on the loose ball for the try. Craig Fitzgibbon converted for a 6-0 lead.
The Knights hit right back with an almost identical try, Jarrod Mullen bombed for Cory Paterson to fly high and come down with a four pointer of his own. Kurt Gidley converted from close range and the match was locked up until Gidley stepped up again to pot a penalty goal, giving the Knights a two point lead that they took into halftime.
Scoring went back and forth in the second 40, the Roosters scoring again from a bomb by Anasta, Shaun Kenny-Dowall doing the honours to give the Roosters the lead for the first time since they opened the scoring in the first half. Danny Buderus did it all on his own, dummying and scurrying over from dummy half to put the locals back in front. In the end however it was the same combination of Anasta and Kenny-Dowall that combined to score the Roosters third try from a bomb, and ultimately secure their tenth victory of season 2008.
Next week the Knights go to Gosford to meet the Sea Eagles, fresh off a victory against the Warriors, while the Roosters will return home to take on the depleted Bulldogs, coming off a 40 point hiding by Canberra
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Welcome to LeagueUnlimited.com's live update of the Round 15 clash between the Newcastle Knights and the Sydney Roosters, live from Energy Australia Stadium, Newcastle. Any late changes to the teams will become available soon, the lineups as announced on Tuesday are as follows:
KNIGHTS: 1. Kurt Gidley 2. James McManus 3. Wes Naiqama 4. Adam MacDougall 5. Cooper Vuna 6. Chris Bailey 7. Jarrod Mullen 8. Steve Simpson 9. Danny Buderus (c) 10. Jesse Royal 11. Chris Houston 12. Cory Paterson 13. Zeb Taia Interchange: 14. Matt Hilder 15. Daniel Tolar 16. Richard Fa