Roosters down Knights, move into top eight

·3-min read

The Sydney Roosters have planted themselves firmly back in the NRL finals race with an eight-try effort to demolish the Newcastle Knights 42-12 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

After suffering four straight losses, the Roosters have now piled on 96 points in two games after their 54-26 humiliation against St George Illawarra a week ago.

And Trent Robinson's men did it against the Knights down three key players in Joey Manu and forwards Sio Taukeiaho and Sitili Tupouniua, who were all injured in the last round.

But when you've got James Tedesco in your line-up it doesn't seem to matter how many players are missing.

The NSW Origin captain ran for 304 metres off 21 runs, had three line-breaks, two try assists, 10 tackle-busts and scored himself as the Roosters slipped back into the top eight.

"That's a guy who is really clear about his form. But it's quite strange to say form because he's not on a purple patch," Robinson said of Tedesco.

"He's been doing that for a long period of time."

For Adam O'Brien's men it wasn't a happy night on any front.

It was Newcastle's third loss in a row, conceding 40 points or more each time.

Apart from two consolation tries to Phoenix Crossland and Edrick Lee, the Knights best moment came in the third minute when Tyson Frizell, a back-rower, brought down Tedesco from behind to save a try.

The battle between Tedesco and his opposing Origin fullback Kalyn Ponga was supposed to be one of the highlights of the game - but it lasted just seven minutes.

An outstretched left arm by Matt Lodge sent the Newcastle No.1 to the turf and then off for a head assessment.

It was Ponga's second game back for his club after missing two weeks with concussion.

"We'll go through the process (head injury protocols) during the week because he's had a couple," O'Brien said.

"But I'm more concerned with how upset he is - he's pretty emotional because he feels like he's let everyone down."

O'Brien said it was too premature to suggest Ponga's season might be over - with six rounds left and the Knights out of finals contention.

They could be down more troops after Knights centre Dane Gagai was marched for back-chatting referee Peter Gough.

The Roosters used the one-man advantage by scoring three tries to snuff out any chance of a Knights comeback.

It was a Ponga penalty that gave the Knights the first points of then game, but then a try-scoring spree by the Roosters spearheaded by Joseph Suaalii and Tedesco swung the game firmly in the visitors' favour.

They led 16-2 at halftime after scoring three tries within 15 minutes.

The Roosters didn't let up in the second half.

It was only seven minutes old when a Luke Keary corner kick found the 196cm tall Daniel Tupou to score.

Then Suaalii scored his second off quick hands from Tedesco and Paul Momirovski on his inside.

Not to be outdone Tupou scored his second from a sublime around-the-corner Tedesco pass.

Angus Crichton and Egan Butcher added to the rout, maintaining a winning Roosters streak over the Knights that now stretches back to 2012.

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