THE Newcastle Knights emerged from a week of drama to shock reigning premiers Sydney Roosters 16-12 at Hunter Stadium last Friday in one of the most courageous wins in their 27-year history.
Man of the match Tyrone Roberts scored two tries and his kick in the 79th minute created the match-winner for former Roosters centre Joey Leilua.
The Knights went into the game without captain Kurt Gidley (groin), representative wingers James McManus (toe) and Akuila Uate (knee), forward Chris Houston (knee), and fullback Darius Boyd, who on Wednesday was ruled out indefinitely after admitting himself into a Sydney mental-health clinic seeking treatment for depression.
Knights coach Wayne Bennett, who announced last Monday that he would return to Brisbane to coach the Broncos at the end of this season, described the gutsy victory as one of the best in his three years in Newcastle.
Bennett said he and the players were bitterly disappointed with their performance in the 22-8 loss to Gold Coast the previous week, on a day when they were supposed to celebrate the return of teammate Alex McKinnon but produced a lacklustre effort in front of their biggest crowd of the season.
Before kick-off last Friday night, NRL chief executive Dave Smith presented Bennett and Gidley with a cheque for $1.4 million for the Rise For Alex Foundation.
The Knights play South Sydney this Sunday at ANZ Stadium. Kick-off at 3pm.