Crikey Sports introduces Pat Byrne, project manager and sports fan who, in conjunction with Crikey Sports, will be publishing a weekly column where he thinks outside the square in bringing you the game of the week as he sees it … in a box…

Pat Byrne, blogger and “Game-in-a-box” creator writes:

The Sydney Roosters were coming off a big loss to the Cronulla Sharks in Round 10 and a bye in Round 9. The Knights, a loss to the New Zealand Warriors in Round 10 and they also had a bye in Round 9.

Going into the game, the Roosters were 2 from 9 games and the Knights were 4 from 9 games. Neither was travelling well. They were both missing some players but that made it about even overall.

It was a very dour first half with the Roosters just hovering into the domination zone for most of the half.  They scored a wonderful try in the 24th minute when from the half way they broke to the right and Anasta managed to get three attackers on two defenders with his pass outside.  That pass went to Kenny-Dowell who passed to the outside as well, only to quickly get the ball back on the inside.  He trotted over to score under the posts.  It did look like the last pass was forward but the Ref didn’t call it back. So it was first blood to the Roosters.

Overall the Roosters dominated by just short of 10% but the score didn’t really reflect that at 6 to nil. That sort of domination and the opportunities they occasionally had would have seen them go into the half time break a little disappointed. I am sure Brian Smith, their coach would have felt the same.  Although he probably would have been pleased with Anasta and Waerea-Hargreaves. The latter not only have a good first half but a very powerful game overall.

The second half saw the Rooster again dominate first up.  Their work paid off in the 51st minute when they were on the attack in the Knights quarter. Off a play the ball, the ball went right to Carney.  He was running slightly to the outside shoulder of the Knights defender dragging him with him, and when Minichello came steaming on his inside to get the inside pass, it was always going to be a try. It was 12 to nil and it looked like the Roosters could run away with it.

Less than 10 minutes later though, the Knights were in, perhaps a little against the flow. From inside their own half the Knights passed it to the left.  Lulia straightened his run and got through the Roosters defence. He found McDonnell running on his inside, passed it to him and it was shut the gate with the Knights over. Although it was against the flow of the game (the Roosters were dominating slightly at the time) the Knights were back into the game.

The game as a spectacle picked up from here as did the Knights who dominated this last quarter. Their work paid off in the 73rd minute when they put up a bomb from left to right inside the Rooster’s 10m.  Mata’utia out jumped his opposite and went for the ball out to the right near the posts. He won the contest and it was a try to the Knights. They now had a chance to lock it up but the conversion went wide unfortunately and so they still needed to score again to make it equal or to win it. But unfortunately for them they kept making the occasional mistake and releasing the pressure off the Roosters.

In the end, they couldn’t do it and the Roosters held on to win 12 to 10. The Roosters dominated overall just over 5% and the scores and possession reflected that.  It ended being a close game and in the final quarter, an exciting game.  But it never came near the intensity and skill level of last week’s game between the Bulldogs and the Dragons.

The Roosters are now 3 from 10 and the Knights 4 from 10. The Knights are 9th on the ladder and the Roosters 13th. Both will need to play better to make it into the eight and a whole lot better to make inroads during the finals.