Sydney Roosters 29 Newcastle 12

Roosters forward Sonny Bill Williams can't escape the Knights on this occasion.

Roosters forward Sonny Bill Williams can't escape the Knights on this occasion. Photo: Getty Images

As it happened: Roosters v Knights

On the first day of the rest of their lives, the only way is up for the Newcastle Knights.

Just hours after formally severing ties with former owner Nathan Tinkler and his Hunter Sports Group management company, the Knights suffered a 29-12 loss to defending premiers Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Newcastle's Joseph Tapine is well held by the Roosters' defence.

Newcastle's Joseph Tapine is well held by the Roosters' defence. Photo: Getty Images

Time
80.00
Team
SYD
Score
29
Team
NEW
Score
12
Sydney Roosters versus Newcastle
View Match Statistics
Players Tuivasa-Sheck(2), Kenny-Dowall, Friend, Liu Tries 5 Tries 2 Players Smith, Mamo
Players Maloney 4/5 (80%) Conversions 4 Conversions 2 Players Roberts 2/2 (100%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Maloney 1/1 (100%) Field goals 1 Field goals 0 Players

It was Newcaste's seventh straight loss, leaving them all alone at the bottom of the ladder on six points after the idle Sharks (8) pocketed two points from the bye and leap-frogged the Knights into 15th spot.

As has been the case throughout most of their two-month losing streak, the Knights tried hard and battled courageously against the Roosters for much of the game but paid the price for their mistakes, played without luck, and were left with nothing to show for their efforts.

Earlier on Saturday, NRL chief executive Dave Smith stood alongside Newcastle chief executive Matt Gidley and chairman Paul Harragon at a media conference at Hunter Stadium to announce the league had taken "ownership control" of the Knights, ending Tinkler's tumultuous three-year reign.

Smith said he hoped the NRL held the reins on an interim basis only and that a new shareholder emerges, preferably from Newcastle or the Hunter Valley, to steer the Knights into the future as one of the league's most financially secure clubs.

Needing to win 10 of their last 11 games, the finals are a forlorn hope for the Knights this season, but Smith was confident there were better days ahead.

After a lethargic start, the Roosters scored three converted tries in a 10-minute blitz midway through the second half to turn a 12-6 half-time deficit into a 24-12 lead.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck crossed for his second try from a James Maloney kick in the 50th minute, Shaun Kenny-Dowall won an aerial battle with James McManus to score in the 55th, then Jake Friend bounced over from a Mitchell Pearce offload to touch down in the 60th.

The Roosters dominated possession during that period of the match, breaking Newcastle's spirit and setting up their seventh win from their past eight games.

With two tries to his name, Tuivasa-Sheck was helped from the field with 10 minutes remaining after coming off second best from a ball-and-all tackle by Knights centre Dane Gagai.

Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley twice complained to referee Gavin Badger that Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves led with his elbow, collecting David Fa'alogo in the 60th minute and Jeremy Smith in the 72nd.

Badger had no problem with either incident, the second of which resulted in Smith being helped from the field, but the Knights were fuming as a similar collision forced former Newcastle skipper Danny Buderus into early retirement when the teams met on the same ground in the preliminary final last year.

Maloney potted a field goal in the 73rd minute to extend the Roosters' lead to 13 points.

Playing on the right wing, Roosters prop Isaac Liu charged on to a Maloney pass in the 78th minute to complete their burst of 23 unanswered points.

Though their handling fell away in the second stanza, the Knights gave every indication that an upset was on the cards with a spirited first half.

Rookie winger Jake Mamo scored the first try of his NRL career two minutes before half-time to give the Knights a 12-6 lead at the break, which they thoroughly deserved after rattling the Roosters for most of the first 40 minutes.

The Roosters were guilty of some sloppy handling in the opening exchanges and the Knights punished them in the seventh minute, when Adam Clydsdale darted out of dummy-half to send lock Jeremy Smith over for a try next to the posts.

Tyrone Roberts converted from close range for a 6-0 lead then the Knights had a chance to extend their lead four minutes later but Dane Gagai spilled the ball into touch with the line looming.

After fumbling their way through the first 15 minutes, the Roosters clicked into gear after Newcastle conceded an off-side penalty, and from their first set in good field position Mitchell Pearce found Roger Tuivasa-Sheck with a short pass for a try under the posts.

James Maloney added the extras from in front to level the scores at 6-6.

Dual international Aku Uate led a Newcastle counter-attacking raid in the 21st minute when he found space up the middle, only to be stopped by Anthony Minichiello's midfield tackle, then 20-year-old Mamo continued the movement with another long run out of dummy-half.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he didn't have to say much to his players at halftime to get the side back on track but believed they're still some way from their best despite seven wins from their past eight games.

"We got to our kicks in the second half and made some nice attacks," Robinson said.

"There was some good footy and some disappointing footy at different times but we righted some wrongs in the second half. On results, we have been good but, on form, we've only been OK. We've done some good stuff, shown why we're a good team but haven't been hard-nosed enough. But there is a lot of time to go between now and the end of the season. We can get better."

Knights coach Wayne Bennett bemoaned his side's lack of execution in the second half and said his depleted side, which was missing Darius Boyd, Kade Snowden, Beau Scott and Adam Cuthbertson, were lacking confidence. "There hasn't been a game all year we haven't been in. We just keep finding a way to get out of it," Bennett said. "It turned on two kicks where we dropped the ball - it just killed us. We were doing so well but gifted them two tries and it's gone from 12-6 up to 18-12 down and made it hard for them after that. But we're depleted, they're trying hard and errors hurt us."

with AAP