Canberra Raiders 12 (Croker, Boyd tries; Croker 2 goals).
Newcastle Knights 26 (MacManus, Clydsdale, Scott, Gagai tries; Roberts 5 goals)
The return of Jarrod Mullen to the Newcastle Knights side has provided the team with the direction needed to claim a 26-12 victory over the Canberra Raiders in front of 9519 fans at GIO Stadium, Canberra.
The win was built around a strong second half from the visitors, who won the second half 14-nil to see the Raiders lose a sixth straight home game, their stadium a fortress no more.
The Knights came into the game with a slow start to the season, having won just one of their first five games, and things didn’t look like improving early, when the Raiders opened the scoring in just the ninth minute, with the Knights defence guilty of back pedalling at their line allowing Croker a simple passage to the line.
The lead was short lived for the home side with the Knights scoring through the assistance of back to back penalties, a sweeping back line, and a ducking and weaving James McManus.
The six all dead lock appeared hard to break, until Knights reserve hooker Adam Clydesdale tested the Raiders marker defence which has proven a problem for the Green machine this season, and did again, with Clydesdale crossing the stripe to give the Knights the lead for the first time after 31 minutes of play.
In the 37th minute of the game, the Raiders once again locked the game up when a short ball from Hooker Glen Buttriss allowed big Shannon Boyd to crash over from short range, despite the attention of several Knights defenders, the game even at 12-all during the break.
However, on the return from the interval it was all Newcastle, Willie Mason charging up field before McManus got the Knights within striking distance allowing the Knights to catch the Raiders short, Tyrone Roberts passing to Beau Scott to score in the 48th minute of play.
Despite losing Gidley after a head knock, the knights rolled on, Jarrod Mullen throwing a cut out pass to the rampaging Scott who dragged Wighton along before offloading to Dane Gagai on the inside who scored under the posts to give the Knights a 24-12 lead after 61 minutes.
The Knights had a further injury scare when Snowden was stretchered off the field in a neck brace after an attempted tackle gone wrong, however the big forward would reappear on the bench later to ease Knights fears of a second major injury for the season.
And while the Raiders had a chance to get back into the game, Bill Tupou spilled the ball with a free passage to the line, allowing the Knights to hang on and extend their lead to the final 14 point margin via the boot of Tyrone Roberts, to claim their second win of the season.
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