Roosters cling on to win over Knights

The Roosters clung on to beat Newcastle 18-16 on Saturday and notch a third-straight win for the first time this season in a match where Knights co-captain Jamie Buhrer suffered what looked to be a season-ending ACL injury.

A Blake Ferguson double continued his golden run of form since being snubbed by Blues coach Brad Fittler, but the star-studded visitors were made to work for the two competition points right to the end for a second straight week in front of 18,029 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium

Run of form: Blake Ferguson.

Run of form: Blake Ferguson.

Budding superstar Kalyn Ponga scored with just four minutes remaining to give the Knights a sniff, but Nathan Brown's side couldn't find the winning shot.

It capped a superb week for Ferguson who starred in last Sunday's narrow win over the Wests Tigers, and his two tries either side of half-time proved the difference.

His first was from a Luke Keary pass 10m out from the Knights' line when he hit the ball on an angle at such speed he almost ran over the dead-ball line before grounding it.

Moments after half-time he struck again, picking the ball up from dummy half and fooling the markers as he scooted down the blind side and stampeded over Ken Sio.

Origin duo Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco also marked the end of a great week with a win, the pair having backed up successfully after Origin duties on Wednesday night.

On the run: Joseph Manu of the Roosters fends off a tackle.

On the run: Joseph Manu of the Roosters fends off a tackle.

They were joined by Queenslander Dylan Napa who started from the bench and spent 10 minutes in the sin bin midway through the second half, although captain Boyd Cordner was rested from club duties after Wednesday's physical stoush.

"We've watched over the weekend it's a big task backing up and I thought they did well," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.

"You never feel comfortable. We just got two points and just handled it slightly better and that's what got us the win.

"It's a good effort to control the game and finish it off there we don't like it always being that close but shutting it out there was well done in that last five minutes."

Coach Nathan Brown will take plenty of positives from the clash given his side was thrashed 38-8 by the same team in round three, although the loss of Buhrer threatens to derail their hopes of a top-eight finish.

"He's disappointed, as is the case I think when anyone gets those long-term season ending injuries, he's starting to get on to the latter part of his career as well," Brown said.

"Throughout his career he's done a few big injuries but he always seems to find his way back. He'll be right, he'll bounce back I'm sure and rehab well and I'm sure he'll get himself back on the field next year and play some good footy again.

"We've got our fair share of issues at the moment with injuries. The key thing was our effort tonight, we competed hard against a side that has let's say a roster that has some very talented players in it.

"We punched hard with them, I thought we competed very very well, we let ourselves down in some key moments of the game but that's probably to be expected a bit when you look at the experience of our halves and the experience of theirs."

The Roosters won the possession and territory battle but failed to put the determined Knights away when they had their chances.

Ex-Melbourne man Slade Griffin typified the Knights' desire in the first half when he produced a goal-line bell-ringer on Roosters lock Isaac Liu to save a certain try.

Daniel Tupou looked to have put Liu into a gaping hole but as he looked certain to score Griffin produced a bone-rattling shot on his bigger opponent to dislodge the ball.

Brown will no doubt look back on Newcastle's questionable decision to take a penalty goal midway through the second half while down by eight points.

It was a negative tactic reminiscent of rugby union when the Knights would have been better off trying to score all six points on offer and although the margin was reduced to a converted try, it stretched back out to eight soon after when the Roosters knocked over a penalty goal of their own soaking up valuable seconds with Napa in the sin bin.

Mitchell started brilliantly showing no signs of an Origin hangover, storming down the left touchline before passing off to Luke Keary who opened the scoring.

Newcastle didn't panic and soon had a try of their own through Sione Mata'utia who was too strong down the right edge, powering through some futile Roosters defence.

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