Newcastle Knights sealed their spot in the 2022 Jersey Flegg Cup Grand Final, just holding on after facing a second half onslaught to defeat Sydney Roosters 24-22 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Roosters drew first blood early with a length of the field effort by fullback Luke Knight, who collected a grubber from his own try-line to sprint 100 metres downfield and score the opening try of the afternoon. A missed conversion attempt from Jack Mossman meant the scoreline remained 4-0.
However, It took just four minutes for the Knights to respond, and they did it through their own fullback Fletcher Sharpe, who found a gaping hole in the opposition defence off the back of a set play from the scrum.
A penalty goal for the Roosters levelled the score at 6-6, before Newcastle piled on three tries in a row to finish off the second half with a convincing lead.
The first of the three came through a show-and-go from Kurt Donoghoe who scored beside the posts, before Luke Pietzner followed up with a try in the corner, following a perfectly executed right side shift.
The Knights finished off a dominant first half display in the dying seconds through a second try for Fletcher Sharpe, who brilliantly finished off a 70-metre chip-and-chase effort to take his side into the break, leading 24-6.
The Roosters came out with a different attitude in the second half, refusing to die wondering and putting on a clinic to get themselves back in the game.
Vaiala Tamati scored just two minutes into the half with a powerful solo effort, beating an incredible eight defenders to stretch out and score near the sideline. Another missed conversion attempt from Jack Mossman kept the score at 24-10.
The Roosters followed up with a second try for the half in as many minutes, through Vuate Karawalevu who finished off a sizzling Hugo Savala linebreak to bring his side within eight points.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, the Roosters scored a third consecutive try through Tuku Hau Tapuha, who barged his way over to touch down under the posts.
With only two points separating the sides, the Roosters elected to take the two when awarded a penalty 46-metres out after the buzzer, but a missed attempt from Hugo Savala who couldn’t make the distance saw a thrilling game come to an end, with the Knights surviving the Roosters’ second half onslaught to book their place in the Grand Final.
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