Shaun Kenny-Dowall scores on debut in Newcastle’s 28-4 loss to Sydney Roosters.
A TRY on debut bynew recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall was a rarehighlight forthe Knights in their28-4 loss toSydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
Kenny-Dowall, a mid-season import before the June 30 deadline, was playing his first game in Newcastle’scolours –coincidently against the team for whom he played 224 NRL games over 11 seasons.
TRY TIME: Luke Keary is congratulated by Mitchell Cornish after scoring against Newcastle on Friday night. Picture: AAP
He marked the occasion with a 30th-minute four-pointer after winning the race to ground a Dane Gagai grubber kick in-goal.
Kenny-Dowall’s try left Newcastle facing a 12-4 half-time deficit but the Roosters, even without regulars Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend, Michael Gordon and Jospeh Manu,exerted their authority after the break.
LIGHTS OUT: Knights winger Chanel Mata’utia receives treatment after a nasty collision with Blake Ferguson on Friday night. Picture: AAP
Knights coach Nathan Brown said it was an encouraging start from the former Kiwi international.
“I thought he had some really good stuff, but he had a couple of things where he was a bit rusty, which you’d expect,’’ Brown said.
“He hasn’t played for a few months. He’s playing with some new personnel.
“But he certainly had a couple of carries, when the pressure was on, that got us out of trouble …that’s what he’s done for the Roosters for a long time. He actually does good things in key moments of games.’’
Brown said he thought Newcastle “did well and got to 12-4” and had been competing well against the Roosters’ heavyweight forwards.
“Then in the latter part of that game, we didn’t complete any good ball sets at all and they were just a bit too good for us,’’ Brown said.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said his team’s defence was “rock solid” but the attack was “indifferent”.
“I thought there were some really good sets, but I don’t think it was consistent enough,’’ he said.
The loss was Newcastle’s 23rdin a row away from home.
Newcastle’s horrendous run on the road extends back to the final round of 2015, when a 30-12 thrashing at Penrith consigned them to the wooden spoon.
They lost all 12 away games last year and have gone down in 10 out of 10 this season.
The Roosters led 12-0 after tries by winger Blake Ferguson and five-eighth Luke Keary, but Newcastle reduced the deficit to 12-4 at half-time when Kenny-Dowall scored.
A 61st-minute try by Roosters winger Anthony Tupou gave the home side a 12-point buffer, then lock Isaac Liu strolled over four minutes later to leave the visitors facing an unassailable advantage.
Roosters fullback Connor Watson, who is reportedly joining Newcastle next season, darted over next to the posts in the 73rdminute after a Ferguson offload.
Knights bench forward Luke Yates was tackled inches short of his first NRL try twice in the second half.
There was a horrendous incident in the 57thminute when Ferguson, at full speed on a kick return, appeared to collect Newcastle winger Chanel Mata’utia on the jaw with a forearm.
Mata’utia lay motionless on theturf for several minutes before he was eventually taken by medicab for treatment.
The win lifted the Roosters to equal first with Melbourne, who have a game in hand against Canberra on Saturday. The Knights remain last, two wins adrift of Wests Tigers.