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Keary magic ends Roosters' two-game slide

NZN 14/04/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary has continued his NRL resurrection with the game-breaking try in his team's 24-6 Good Friday win over Newcastle.

The Roosters were holding onto a slender 12-6 lead midway through the second half at McDonald Jones Stadium when Keary seized the initiative with an individual try.

After a stampeding run from Boyd Cordner, the South Sydney reject darted blindside and made Mitchell Barnett grab air to silence the crowd of 24,412 - the Knights' biggest in a year.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson paid tribute to his big men - particularly co-captain Cordner - for laying the foundation for his halves to come up big in the clutch.

"I thought the platform was built through a lot of the middle's work, and outside backs," he said.

"Our halves were pushed in support a lot, and then they finished off the game with Keary and Pearce running through the line to score the tries. That platform was laid for them."

The win means the Tricolours avoid a three-game losing streak to sit temporarily alongside ladder leaders Melbourne and St George Illawarra on five wins for the season.

But for the bottom-placed Knights, the brave defeat extends their losing streak to five games.

It was yet another courageous performance from the perennial battlers, who had a handful of chances to level the scores early in the second half.

However Keary, with three tries in the opening seven games of the season, broke the game open with his decisive 63rd-minute effort.

Halves partner Mitchell Pearce sealed the win with a four-pointer of his own 10 minutes later.

The Knights also had opportunities to exert early scoreboard pressure when Barnett found himself over the line in the ninth minute, but he was judged to have knocked on in the lead-up.

The home side enjoyed two more plays inside the opposition 20-metre zone in the first half but didn't have the attacking polish of their opponents.

The Roosters had no such difficulties, striking first through Joseph Manu's wicked right-foot step that sent three defenders the wrong direction in the 18th minute.

They completed a near-flawless first half, completing 18 of 19 sets, on Pearce's cutout for Michael Gordon to take a 12-0 lead into the break.

Newcastle brought the crowd into the contest when Dane Gagai produced a flick pass for Ken Sio soon after the restart, but couldn't find the breakthrough.

Knights coach Nathan Brown said it was the Roosters' halves who proved the difference.

"We didn't come up with the right plays at the right time. Their two halves in a key part of the game came up with two really good plays," he said.

"They had six repeat sets and we had none. That weight of possession probably told at times - their halves capitalised on it quite well."

In a sour note for the Roosters, back-rower Ryan Matterson failed to finish the match after coming off with a leg injury in the second half.

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