The Newcastle Knights have claimed an impressive 30-4 victory against the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night. The win pushes the Knights to 10th on the ladder, while the Eels remain in 16th.
It may have seemed unlikely to some prior to round one, but this matchup would see two teams struggling and needing a win to get their season back on track. Regardless of home field advantage, the Knights prevailed for the entire game as the Eels struggled on both sides of the ball. Bevan French (concussion) and Mitchell Moses (knee) were both gone due to injury by the 25 minute mark and with a Michael Jennings sin binning towards the end of the first half, the Knights garnered plenty of opportunities. It took some time for the first try, but Jack Cogger crossed on a dropped ball from Moses to put his side ahead 14-0 at the break.
The second half saw the slight jubilation of Jennings returning for Parramatta short lived, as within two minites the Knights scored through Ken Sio, giving them an insurmountable 20-0 advantage. The Knights continued to pummel the Eels in the middle of the park, accumulating just under 2,000 running metres for the game and powered by Daniel Saifiti, who had the best game of his young career so far. Ultimately the Eels defence had too many holes, and the Knights exploited this en route to a 30-4 win. The game ended with the Eels losing two more men in Peni Terepo and Will Smith to injuries, leaving them without a healthy bench to finish the game.
Knights grab timely win
The Knights flew out of the gates, at least in comparison to their past three seasons, with five wins in their first eight games. Then to four straight losses, the Novocastrians were in need of a win to keep track of the top eight. They did just that, in a game where they were clinical for the most part, but were helped with an embarrassing opposition. The halves were strong, with young Cogger having a strong performance in the absence of Mitchell Pearce.
More injury worries for the Eels
If their disastrous season so far with a large injury list as it is had not already, the suspected MCL injury to Mitchell Moses has all but confirmed the Eels fate for 2018. Moses went down 25 minutes into the game with a left knee injury in an awkward tackle, and trimming the Eels team to 15 men. On top of that, injuries to Bevan French (concussion), Pen Terepo (concussion) and Will Smith (hamstring) leave Coach Brad Arthur with a thin squad for the near future – the last thing he needs right now.
A standout performance from Daniel Saifiti
Confidence for the yon g Newcastle native was low after being dropped by Coach Nathan Brown in round 11. But an injury to Herman Ese’ese opened the door for Saifiti to make his mark, and he did so in impressive fashion. Saifiti was one of the standout players from the Newcastle side that pummeled the Eels defensive line. As well as a great solo try, Saifiti added 199 running metres as well as a line break.
Second straight sin binning for Michael Jennings
It seems that misbehaving for the veteran centre is a tough task at the moment as Michael Jennings saw yellow for the second straight week, which had a fair impact on the result. Much like the game against the Broncos last week, when the Eels were reduced to 12 men the opposition took advantage as they scored on the ensuing set through Sione Mata’utia to take a 14-0 lead. They nearly scored a second in the 10 minute period through Ken Sio, but strong defence from Nathan Brown prevented the try.
Tries: Cogger (13m), Mata’utia (35m), Sio (46m), Saifiti (54m), Watson (67m)
Goals: Ponga 5/6
Tries: Hoffman (74m)
Goals: Gutherson 0/1
Eels: 1 Bevan French, 2 Josh Hoffman, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Clint Gutherson (c), 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 16 David Gower, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Peni Terepo Interchange: 14 Will Smith, 15 Suaia Matagi, 17 Marata Niukore, 18 Nathan Brown
Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Cory Denniss, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Jack Cogger, 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Mitchell Barnett, 13 Aidan Guerra (c) Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 17 Josh King