The Sydney Roosters have held off a fast-finishing Newcastle to score a 38-22 victory and extend their winning streak to eighton Sunday.
On a weekend where their fellow top four incumbents tripped up against lower-ranked teams, an irresistible Roosters side – minus rested skipper Mitchell Pearce – cruised to a 32-0 lead at one stage in the second half.
Having sauntered to a 26-0 lead by the break at Hunter Stadium, the Roosters looked well on their way to an easy victory when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck completed a hat-trick 40 seconds after the break.
But for the second week in a row, the competition heavyweights fell into a second half slumber and conceded four unanswered tries.
Knights centre Sione Mata’utia powered over for the Knights first points of the match, before the hosts brought the surprisingly strong 17,718 crowd into the game with three tries in nine minutes.
And it was two mistakes from Tuivasa-Sheck that got Newcastle back into the contest.
The Warriors-bound fullback failed to deal with a Tyrone Roberts grubber in the 61st minute that ended in Joe Tapine touching down, and then a simple dropped bomb three minutes later gave Jeremy Smith a try under the sticks.
A Kurt Gidley four-pointer in the 70th reduced the deficit to 10, however their brave comeback ended when James Maloney sliced through minutes from full-time.
A Nathan Ross knock-on from the kick-off was simply the prelude of a first half effort where the Knights missed 18 tackles.
A poor read from the right edge gave Daniel Tupou a saloon passage to the tryline in the eighth minute, before a similar play unfolded for Brendan Elliot on the opposite side of the field four minutes later.
More swift ball movement ended in Tuivasa-Sheck nabbing his first try in the 30th minute before the Warriors-bound star was the only one to jump for a James Maloney cross-field kick minutes later.
Roosters prop Kane Evans completed the first half rout when he chased through a Maloney bomb that was allowed to bounce.
The Knights were down to 15 men in the second half after Tyler Randell (scratched eyeball) and Beau Scott (foot) failed to come out of the sheds.