Mitchell Pearce has continued his confident form ahead of this month’s State of Origin series as Sydney Roosters climbed into a top-eight spot on the NRL ladder thanks to a 24-6 win over Newcastle.
The NSW halfback scored one of his side’s four tries and played a part in their three others to put a disappointing Knights to the sword at Allianz Stadium.
Brian Smith’s side dominated the first half but failed to find a way through some excellent line defence from the Knights, who were without the injured Kurt Gidley and Danny Buderus.
Despite being encamped in the visitors’ half in the first period, it was the Roosters who fell behind in the 31st minute when Jarrod Mullen darted over to score from his side’s first genuine attack.
However, the Roosters hit back four minutes before halftime when Tinirau Arona got his fingertips to a clever grubber-kick from Pearce, with Braith Anasta’s conversion levelling the scores.
Anasta added a penalty on the stroke of halftime after Joel Walker was placed on report for a lifting tackle on Pearce, that could have led to the the 23-year-old sustaining a serious injury.
The second period continued in a similar fashion with the hosts dominating possession, and Mitch Aubusson extended the lead just before the hour mark following a fine run after latching onto an inside pass from Pearce.
Sam Perrett added a third following some inspired play from newly re-signed fullback Anthony Minichiello who threw a superb long pass and the Kiwi winger barged his way over the line.
The try was a reward for some superb play from the Roosters, who kept the ball alive on the fifth tackle 11 times.
Pearce added some gloss to the scoreline with his second four-pointer of the season, taking advantage of some good play out of dummy-half from Jake Friend.
Friend was also placed on report for a high shot on Alex McKinnon.