The Streak is Over
It took 335 days and 19 losses, but the Newcastle Knights finally left the field with a win next to their name after a 34-26 victory against the Titans. They’ve sat through consecutive wooden spoons, numerous hidings and a few heartbreaking losses, and you could hear every bit of emotion in the fans voices as they chanted “Newcastle” once the victory became certain. The Knights look far better than last season already, and they are set for plenty more victories if they continue to build on their showing against the Titans.
Titans Wearing Thin
The Titans were forced to play the entire second half with just 1 player on the bench after a horrendous run of injuries to backs Jarryd Hayne, Anthony Don and Karl Lawton. Hayne picked up a leg injury as the Titans scored their first try, and within 5 minutes the other 2 had joined him on the sideline. Tyrone Roberts had originally shuffled to fullback when Hayne went down, and following hooker Lawton’s injury he appeared to be playing both positions at once, as he interchanged between fullback in defence and dummy half in attack. Starting centre Dan Sarginson had been ruled out pre-match which forced backrower Chris McQueen out wide, and Kevin Proctor was forced into the other centre spot when Hurrell moved to the wing to accommodate for Don’s injury. The Titans are now extremely thin in outside backs, as the trio join injured flyers Daniel Vidot, William Zillman, John Olive and Dan Sarginson in the rehab ward.
First Tries Galore
An incredible four players scored their very first NRL tries on Saturday afternoon, as Sam Stone from the Knights joined 3 Titans in earning an early career milestone. After his NRL debut was cut short by a horrific ankle injury last year, Karl Lawton celebrated his second game back with a try in the 33rd minute, however unfortunately he was taken off with injury just minutes later. Debutant Tyrone Roberts-Davis created a lifelong memory that not many others can lay claim to, as his first NRL try was laid to him on a platter by his own cousin, Tyrone Roberts-Davis. English recruit Joe Greenwood’s first NRL try will feature in the highlight reels for years as he was the beneficiary of an amazing piece of play that saw the ball go through 12 Titans hands, however Sam Stone will undoubtedly have the fondest memory of his first NRL try. The 19-year old’s try was pivotal in helping the Knights break their losing streak, and the Newcastle junior will surely cherish the memory for the rest of his life.
The Titans can be excused for struggling in the second-half with just 1 substitute on their side, however it was due to their own stupid errors and poor attitude that they came away with the loss. The Titans had a 2-point lead with just 5 minutes remaining, and they could have ground out the victory by holding onto the ball and controlling field position. Instead, Tyrone Roberts inexplicably attempted a 40/20 with the Titans trapped in their own half, and the ball sailed over the sideline to gift the Knights the ball in perfect attacking territory. The Knights scored in the ensuing set, and although the loss can’t be pin-pointed on Roberts, there were several similar stupid errors by his teammates that lead to the Titans losing, as they completed just 69% of their sets compared to the Knights 89%.
Newcastle Knights 34
Tries: Elliot, Stockwell, Ross (2), Stone, Mata’utia
Goals: Hodkinson 5/6
Gold Coast Titans
Tries: Hurrell 2, Lawton, Roberts-Davis, Greenwood
Conversion: Taylor 2/5