Roosters beat Knights to keep pressure on at top

IAN MCCULLOUGH
Last updated 19:13 28/07/2013
Sonny Bill Williams
Getty Images
SIDELINED: Sonny Bill Williams will miss two games for his careless high tackle on Newcastle's Willie Mason.

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The Sydney Roosters have kept the pressure on NRL table-toppers South Sydney with a hard-fought 28-12 win over in-form Newcastle at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Trent Robinson's side secured the points with a professional display in front of a crowd of over 23,000 to underline just why they were made the bookmakers favourites to win the premiership this week.

The Knights went into the game on the back of three successive wins but had no answer to a Sonny Bill Williams-inspired Roosters side who now sit two points behind South Sydney.

The two teams lock horns in round 26 of the season in what could be a dress rehearsal for this year's grand final.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall opened the scoring for the visitors after 18 minutes only for the Knights to hit back almost immediately when Darius Boyd ran the ball 80 metres after defusing a Mitchell Pearce bomb.

The remainder of the opening stanza was something of an arm wrestle that saw Williams placed on report for a shoulder charge to the head of Willie Mason, who later limped off with a suspected torn calf muscle.

But the Roosters restored their lead on the half-hour mark when Michael Jennings picked off a Jarrod Mullen pass intended for Dane Gagai and charged the length of the field to score.

James Maloney added the extras to give his side a 12-6 lead at the interval.

The second half followed a similar pattern with little to choose between the sides, but the Roosters repelled a spell of pressure from the hosts and extended their advantage when prop Sam Moa put the finishing touches to a series of offloads with a try from close range.

But the Knights hit back to keep themselves in the game through James McManus on the hour-mark only for Tyrone Roberts to miss a vital conversion that would have cut the deficit to six points.

Roared on by the home fans Bennett's's side continued to press, but with the Roosters on the back foot, they made the raised many eyebrows in the stadium by opting to kick a penalty right in front of the posts.

And from their next attack Neville Costigan was pinged by the referees for being offside and Roosters restored their control.

Former Knights junior Boyd Cordner iced the result with a darting run to the line before Williams adding some extra gloss with a one-armed lung right on the final siren.

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