The Knights hit back in a big way, defeating the hapless Titans 38-4 on a wet afternoon in Newcastle.
Newcastle are back on the winners board.
The Titans’ out-of-contract halfback Ryley Jacks opened the visitors’ account after crashing over to score the first try of the game on the left edge.
Under pressure Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga didn’t start the way he would have liked as he dropped a regulation bomb in the first 10 minutes to give Titans more field position.
The Knights kept on shooting themselves in the foot with mistake after mistake in the first 15 minutes, until a bit of brilliance from under fire captain Mitchell Pearce put the home side in front 6-4.
Mason Lino’s first half will be something the fans would have noticed as he was instrumental alongside Pearce in stabilising them after a rocky start.
Newcastle began to take control of the game, and with their halves’ kicking game on point it was a matter of time before they crossed again.
Forward Mitchell Barnett broke off a tired Brian Kelly tackle to spin around and score the home side’s second try.
A back-and-forth contest ensued with the visitors starting to fancy themselves down their right edge, with Watkins and Arthars proving to be dangerous.
The Knights’ left edge defence lapsed again and Arthars made a break down the touchline where he kicked the ball back into the middle for his teammates to pounce close to the Knights’ line. Tyrone Peachey gathered the ball off a team mate 12 metres out and saw two open Titans on his inside, though he didn’t account for Mason Lino’s quick thinking, where he intercepted Peachey’s pass and sprinted away.
What occurred next will go down as one of the best tries of the 2019 season with support play, offloads and a mighty fend from Hymel Hunt on Callum Watkins, highlighting a great passage of play.
Hunt’s try saw the score balloon out to 24-4 at half time in favour of the men from the Hunter.
A complete brain fade from Shaun Kenny-Dowall straight after half-time saw Ryley Jacks kick a 40/20 and give the Titans great field position.
Once again they didn’t do anything with it and handed the Knights a seven tackle set.
The Knights marched up the field and got a repeat set, which saw young centre Bradman Best score his first NRL try after brushing past the brittle Titans defence. The end couldn’t come soon enough for the Gold Coast.
Sione Mata’utia wanted to get in on the action and he did just that as he waltzed over the line untouched to pour more misery on the Gold Coast.
A deflection off a Mitchell Pearce grubber saw Fitzgibbon cross over to score the last try of the game and end what was a miserable day for the visitors.
Lino’s Best Game of the Season
Mason Lino produced easily his best game of the season as he had the ball on a string. Forcing two drop outs and laying a hand in multiple of the Knights’ tries, Lino was a standout performer. In shocking goal kicking conditions he managed to convert five out of seven attempts as well. His combination with Pearce will only get better after a big pre-season together.
Klemmer a Beast
Arguably in the top three props in the game, Klemmer put on a masterclass on Saturday afternoon. Here are some of his stats: in 59 minutes he had one try assist, 11 hit ups for 171 metres, 26 tackles and two line breaks. A huge performance from the big fella.
Next Week Can’t Come Soon Enough for the Titans
Ten straight losses for the Titans sees them stuck in last placed on the ladder. Their coach sacked midway through the season, the media calling out their players for not giving effort and their best player Jai Arrow looking to talk with rival clubs after the season…who the hell would want to be a Titans fan right now?
Old Boys Would be Glad to See Some Fight after a Last Week
Newcastle’s ‘old boys day’ took place today, and after last week’s 46-4 hammering from the Tigers, the ex-Knights players would have been pleased with the effort shown, albeit against the last-placed Titans. The Johns brothers in particular were vocal this past week about the happenings inside the club, so it’ll be interesting to hear their thoughts after today’s win.
Newcastle Knights 38
Tries: Mitchell Pearce, Mitchell Barnett, Hymel Hunt, Connor Watson, Bradman Best, Sione Mata’utia, Lachlan Fitzgibbon
Goals: Mason Lino 5/7
Gold Coast Titans 4
Tries: Ryley Jacks
Goals: Michael Gordon 0/1
Newcastle Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Bradman Best 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Connor Watson 10. Daniel Saifiti 17. Aidan Guerra 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 14. Jacob Saifiti 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Josh King
Gold Coast Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Brian Kelly 5. Phillip Sami 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Alexander Brimson 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Bryce Cartwright 21. Tanah Boyd