In a nail biting finish, the nib Newcastle Knights just didn't have enough time to topple the Sydney Roosters, who took the 18-16 win at McDonald Jones Stadium on a chilly Saturday evening.
Despite a Roosters opening try, the Knights put on an impressive defensive display in the opening 40 and despite a late comeback with some Ponga brilliance, the Knights couldn't get the extra two points to go into golden point.
Not a great start as Mitchell Barnett took a heavy hit and the ball trickled out... minutes later the Roosters charged forward, Latrell Mitchell broke the tackle to dish off to a speedy Luke Keary who accelerated 70 metres down field for the try.
Mitchell lined up for the kick and nailed it to put the Roosters into the early lead, 6-0.
A short kick off worked in Newcastle's favour and six minutes gone, some clever hands from Sione Mata'utia to pull in the ball, as he muscled his way to the line for the Knights first. Kalyn Ponga booted the conversion and it was level, 6-all.
A perfect grubber by Jack Cogger forced an obstruction penalty via Cooper Cronk and Ponga opted for the kick out front and made no mistake, to put the Knights in the lead, 8-6.
The Roosters had a sure thing as Siosiua Taukeiaho charged towards the line in open space but from nowhere, Slade Griffin smashed the forward in a demanding tackle to pull off an impressive try saver after 17 minutes.
In the 30th minute, soft hands from Keary to dish off to Blake Ferguson in space who charged over for the Roosters second. Mitchell made the conversion and the Roosters took back the lead, 12-8 which remained the scores going into halftime.
In the second, the Roosters were at an advantage with a repeated set, and with a dummy pass, Ferguson sprinted down the right side to barge over the top of Ken Sio to slam the ball in-goal for the double. The Roosters extended their lead to 16-8.
In the 48th minute, a heavy high hit on Chris Heighington awarded the Knights a penalty out in front of the posts. Ponga had no trouble to record the two points and the Knights trailed by a converted try.
As Ponga skipped to the outside, he belted a short grubber in-goal and as the Roosters picked it up, Lachlan Fitzgibbon chased down his prey... it was a goal line drop out.
With the Knights just a metre from the line, Dylan Napa was sent to the bin for 10, making no effort to pull out of the tackle and despite a 12 men opposition, the Knights couldn't capitalise to see it back in Roosters possession.
A penalty against the Knights 61 minutes in, saw the Roosters take the two and Mitchell booted it straight through the middle to stretch the visitors lead to 18-10.
A high kick from Keary bounced awkwardly and sailed over the back of Barnett but despite Mitchell picking up the crumbs and running it over, it went to the bunker and was deemed a no try, knocked on by the Roosters.
With just over seven minutes on the clock, the Knights got another six 20 metres out after a high hit on Ponga, but still they couldn't penetrate the Roosters defensive line.
In the 76th minute, the Knights struck again, with a Ponga break, before it landed in the hands of Mata'utia who got it back to Ponga to glide it over line. Ponga nailed the conversion and it was 18-16 to the Roosters with three minutes to go.
But the Knights couldn't score in the final minutes as the Roosters sustained their lead to record five wins on the trot and leave a heartbroken Newcastle, defeated 18-16.
Knights 16 (T: Mata'utia, Ponga G: Ponga 2/2, PG: Ponga 2/2)
Roosters 18 (T: Keary, Ferguson 2 G: Mitchell 2/3, Mitchell 1/1)