NRL 2022, round 1: Newcastle Knights defeat Sydney Roosters, Victor Radley HIA confusion

The Knights belied the wooden spoon predictions of some pundits to produce a stunning round-one upset against the highly-fancied Roosters at the SCG.

The Knights brushed aside pre-season pessimism that had them in the mix for the wooden spoon to produce a shock 20-6 win over a Roosters side that never recovered from a controversial obstruction call in the first half.

A number of pundits are quickly deleting tweets that had Newcastle finishing last because the Knights showed in 80 minutes that they can still be competitive without Mitchell Pearce in the Hunter anymore.

“I know you don’t win the premiership in Round 1 but it was important for us to implement some of the stuff that we’d worked on,” Knights coach Adam O’Brien said.

Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.

Kalyn Ponga was strong for the Knights. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Kalyn Ponga was strong for the Knights. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

Kalyn Ponga was good at the back, but the most impressive thing for O’Brien was that his gun No.1 wasn’t the sole contributor in attack.

Halves Adam Clune and Jake Clifford looked really polished in their first game together, while Dane Gagai’s aggression makes him a great off-season get if he can maintain the form that has made him such an asset at State of Origin level.

“There was really good temperament from both of them,” O’Brien said of his halves.

Their defence was a highlight on Saturday as they threatened to keep the potent Roosters to their lowest opening round score since 1934 until Paul Momirovski crossed with three minutes to go.

Sign up for NRL SuperCoach 2022.

TEDDY TORMENTED

Games aren’t decided in the opening 10 minutes, but Roosters fans will be crying foul after their side was denied a four-pointer that would have given them the early lead.

Daniel Tupou and Luke Keary combined through the middle before skipper James Tedesco was released for what would have been a sparkling start to the season, but the cheers quickly turned to jeers when the Bunker intervened.

Review official Alan Shortall said Connor Watson blocked David Klemmer from getting to Tupou, but replays showed the prop would have struggled to get anywhere near the flying winger.

James Tedesco was denied an early try by the bunker. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
James Tedesco was denied an early try by the bunker. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

“I asked the ref where Connor was supposed to go or what he was supposed to do there,” Tedesco said. “I didn’t think he impacted the play. I thought that was a try.”

To make matters worse, the Knights opened the scoring minutes later when a Jake Clifford bomb took a horror bounce that bamboozled Tedesco and fell into the arms of Gagai, who crossed untouched.

RADLEY RATTLED

Roosters lock Victor Radley has found himself involved in another controversial moment at the SCG, but this time it has nothing to do with his tackling technique.

There will be some fallout from a confusing HIA incident that saw Radley allowed to stay on the field even though he was clearly dazed after he made a tackle on Jake Clifford.

But a few minutes later he was forced from the field after the independent doctor in the Bunker declared the incident a category one.

Victor Radley was dazed after he his big hit on Jake Clifford at the SCG. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Victor Radley was dazed after he his big hit on Jake Clifford at the SCG. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

“For them to category one instead of category two was tough for us,” Roosters coach Trent Robinson said. “You’ve got to give some faith to the doctors to look at it as well.”

In between those incidents, Radley was also placed on report for a crusher tackle.

Thankfully for him, all priors have been wiped clean, so he won’t have to worry about a lengthy ban if he is charged with a minor offence.

Radley is such an important part of this Roosters team, and they’ll need him on the field next week when they take on Tom Trbojevic and the Sea Eagles.

Hyped by many to win the league this year with their injured brigade back on the park, the Chooks looked very clunky in a game they were tipped to win by plenty, but it’s only a matter of time until they click back into gear.

“We got what we deserved,” Robinson said, adding it was far too early to panic.

But they could be without starting prop Lindsay Collins after he was also placed on report for a cannonball tackle, not too dissimilar to the one that got him in hot water in the trials.

Originally published as NRL 2022, round 1: Newcastle Knights defeat Sydney Roosters, Victor Radley HIA confusion

Add your comment to this story

To join the conversation, please Don't have an account? Register

Join the conversation, you are commenting as Logout