The last few days have been quite nerve-wracking for the Sydney Roosters, particularly with the recent reports that have come out surrounding the apparent use and awareness by some of their players when it came to forms of drugs, as ASADA continued their investigation.
But, despite all that off-field turmoil, the Roosters let their play on the field do all the talking, as they overpowered a spirited Knights outfit and ended up winning comfortably 40-14.
In front of a crowd of just over 38,000, Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted that the entire week and lead-up to the game was tough to deal with, in light of alleged reports that three of his players were involved with banned substances.
“It was a challenging week and it was the players that got us through,” Robinson said.
“They knew it was wrong to put those guys on the front page and they supported them quickly.
“There’s a lot of pessimism in our sport about what happens in our game and the guys knew what they did, they were happy with what they’d come to and the boys decided to get going on Thursday morning.
“They came in, talked about it and the way those guys played today was impressive.”
For Knights coach Wayne Bennett, he felt the turning point was when inspirational hooker and captain Danny Buderus went off with concussion, with the Newcastle Knights legend taken to hospital as a precaution, despite regaining consciousness.
“A lot of his mates are upset he has such an impact on the club and he is rated so highly by everybody he plays with,” Bennett said.
“It’s probably the most upset I have seen blokes coming off a footy field.”
Although his side lost, Bennett was also pleased with how his side responded after the Roosters 14-minute blitz, proud of his side for not throwing in the towel and giving up.
“I was really pleased with them, everything was going against them,” he said.
“For seven or eight minutes in the second half we were matching them and then we got an awkward bounce go against us … and they go down the other end and score.
“We dropped a ball here and missed a couple of tackles there. But I was pleased with the way we finished and it showed why they’ve finished like they did.
“They have a lot of good qualities.”
3. Aidan Guerra
2. Mitchell Pearce
1. Jake Friend