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Suaalii sizzles as Roosters rise into eighth spot by thrashing dismal Knights

The Roosters kept their finals hopes alive while simultaneously ending Newcastle’s ambitions at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night. 

With young winger Joseph Suaalii underlining his status as one of the best young prospects in the NRL, the visitors caused the Knights all manner of grief to run out 42-12 winners.  

With Manly losing earlier in the night to the Dragons, the win means the Roosters have leapfrogged the Sea Eagles into eighth spot heading into the final six rounds. 

The Knights are now eight points adrift of the playoff equation. 

Newcastle opened the scoring with a penalty goal but the Roosters registered the first try when Connor Watson made a break against his former team to gift Luke Keary a try in his comeback from a concussion layoff. 

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22: Jospeh Suaalii of the Roosters celebrates scoring a try with team mates during the round 19 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Sydney Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium, on July 22, 2022, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Jospeh Suaalii celebrates scoring a try. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Knights’ chances took a massive hit when skipper Kalyn Ponga was forced off after a head knock, failing his HIA for a third concussion-enforced layoff for the year. 

They went further ahead when Edrick Lee nearly latched onto an intercept but the Roosters held onto the ball for James Tedesco to put Suaalii over out wide. 

Suaalii, still a couple of weeks shy of his 19th birthday, then turned provider for Tedesco with the skipper’s four-pointer giving the Tricolours a 16-2 buffer at the break. 

When Daniel Tupou latched onto a Keary bomb eight minutes after the restart, the Roosters were up 22-2. 

Suaalii scorched over in the right corner in the 55th minute to extend the lead by four. 

Tedesco unfurled a superb around-the-corner pass for Tupout to plunge over out wide for a 32-2 advantage.

The scoreline became even more embarrassing for Newcastle 10 minutes out from the final siren when second-rower Angus Crichton made it 36-2 and when Tedesco split the hosts up the middle to lay on a try for Egan Butcher and a 40-point margin, it was downright humiliating.

Phoenix Crossland and Edrick Lee crossed for consolation tries but it did little to remove the misery of the final result.

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