Trent Robinson has praised James Tedesco's ability to take charge after the Sydney Roosters fullback put on a clinic in their 28-8 win over Newcastle.
Playing just his third game in 54 days for the club, Tedesco reinvigorated the Roosters' top-four hopes with a hand in five of their six tries as they came back from 8-0 down.
Joey Manu was also brilliant with a one-on-one strip before the Roosters' first try, acting as another sweeping playmaker in attack while defending on the wing.
In a season already crippled by injuries to key players, out-of-luck centre Billy Smith (foot) and winger Matt Ikuvalu (ankle) became the next players to suffer from the club's cursed run.
Sitili Tupouniua also spent time off the field for a concussion test, but still managed to bag a double with his damaging lines off Tedesco.
Without Luke Keary, Jake Friend, Boyd Cordner, Lindsay Collins and Brett Morris, the Roosters remain fifth and are now just two points behind Parramatta in fourth.
The two sides clash in a blockbuster next Thursday night.
But on Friday evening it was Tedesco who lit up the Sunshine Coast as he busted 11 tackles, ran 170 metres, set up three tries, kicked two goals and even sent down a strike in a post-try ten-pin bowling celebration.
"He's just, a complete player. That's what he is," Robinson said.
"It was great from the sideline there to hear how loud he was.
"He organised our defensive line, he took control of last plays, he took control the ruck, he took control of the short sides.
"It was a real clinic from him tonight."
After the Knights scored first through a rampaging Jacob Saifiti and later took an 8-0 lead, Tedesco put Tupouniua over for the Roosters' first.
And when a superb no-look over-the-top Victor Radley ball gave the Roosters a 10-8 lead at the break, Tedesco exploded after halftime.
He first created numbers and put winger Daniel Tupou over unmarked, and on another occasion went to the line to again put Tupouniua through a hole.
Another Roosters try through Lachlan Lam came two plays after Tedesco had burst through four defenders and put the Roosters on the attack.
Angus Crichton was the last man to benefit, the fullback looming up in support play after Crichton broke through and had Tedesco hand the ball back to him.
The Knights meanwhile desperately missed Mitchell Pearce in the halves, as they struggled to take their chances and with Phoenix Crossland eventually hooked.
They completed at just 67 per cent in the second half, leaving them 10th and with their finals hopes in serious doubt despite a soft run home.
"We just didn't manage that second half, everything from our kicking game to field position," Knights coach Adam O'Brien said.
"We didn't play smart. There was a ton of effort ... but we're young and our footy IQ needs to improve."
Australian Associated Press