Roosters thump Newcastle in WCC warm-up
The Sydney Roosters blew away the cobwebs ahead of next week's World Club Challenge against Super League champions Wigan with an emphatic 32-4 NRL trial win over Newcastle at Wyong.
With coach Trent Robinson in Auckland for the Nines competition, assistant coaches Craig Fitzgibbon and Steve McNamara took control of the side that contained 10 of last year's grand final-winning team starting against a vastly inexperienced Knights outfit.
Sonny Bill Williams' last appearance was in front of more than 76,000 fans at Old Trafford in the Rugby League World Cup final for New Zealand, almost three months ago.
But at the more humble surroundings of the Morrie Breen Field, the dual international superstar was still the star attraction for a 2000 strong crowd let in for free.
Central Coast junior James Maloney, on home territory, broke the deadlock after nine minutes when he squeezed his way over the line from close range.
In an opening period played almost entirely in the Knights half, it was no surprise when Mitchell Aubusson stretched his side's advantage.
Williams was the architect of the try with a swift outside pass that allowed the centre to ease his way across the line.
NSW back-rower Boyd Cordner and young prop Willis Meehan also went over for the premiers with Moloney's boot stretching the lead to 22-0.
On the stroke of halftime, Williams found himself crashing down to earth following a huge shot from veteran front-rower David Fa'alogo which dislodged the ball from his grasp just 20 metres in front of the Roosters' posts.
The Knights subsequently took advantage of their good field position, with the ball spread wide to Josh Mantellato and the young winger found the corner to get the Knights on the scoreboard.
Both sides made a raft of changes at the break with the Roosters lineup mostly swapped over for the Newtown Jets NSW Cup side for the final two periods.
New Zealand international prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves scored the opening try of the second half after a great ball Daniel Mortimer.
In Saturday's other trial match, Penrith showed off a host of new recruits as they cruised to a thumping 56-10 win over NSW Cup side Wentworthville, the feeder team for Parramatta.
New halfback Peter Wallace steered Penrith around the park, scored a try and kicked eight goals, while hulking centre Jamal Idris cross the stripe with his first touch in Panthers' colours and veteran front rower Brent Kite, another off-season signing, also got amongst the action.