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2021 NRL Round Nine, Raiders 16 Knights 24 – Report

Andrew Pelechaty reviews a battle between two desperate teams: the Canberra Raiders and the Newcastle Knights. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Raiders 16

Tries: Joseph Tapine (30), Bailey Simonsson (37)

Goals: George Williams (7 – pen, 11 – pen. 32, 39)

Knights 24

Tries: Phoenix Crossland (41), Kalyn Ponga (59), Tyson Frizell (67), Jayden Brailey (77)

Goals: Kalyn Ponga (43, 60, 68, 78)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights)
2 pts – Phoenix Crossland (Newcastle Knights)
1 pt – George Williams (Canberra Raiders)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Canberra dominated early and banked two points from the knock-over penalty goal by George Williams after seven minutes.

Canberra got more prime territory after a Knights knock-on off a Jack Wighton bomb, followed by a scrum infringement penalty. Again, Williams threw over the penalty goal for a 4-0 lead.

Newcastle finally got some decent ball after the Raiders knocked on from the kick-off. The Knights spread it right but the play broke down, thought they got the ball back, but Kurt Mann knocked on. A reprieve for Canberra.

The knock-on-athon continued as both teams struggled to take advantage of prime field position, perhaps indicating they were both struggling with cohesion and confidence in a try-less first half-hour.

Bad news for Canberra, with Ryan Sutton done for the day with a hyper-extended elbow.

Enari Tuala looked to have scored the game’s first try, but it was disallowed for obstruction: a bit of poetic justice for Canberra after last week’s two disallowed obstruction tries.

Canberra got a goal-line drop out with an nice attacking kick from Wighton.

Joe Tapine – after an “interesting” week – finally scored Canberra’s first try in the 30th minute, barging over off a Jordan Rapana short ball following some sustained Raiders pressure.

Canberra got another chance when Kalyn Ponga dropped a huge Williams kick. Williams then threw a beautiful loopy pass for Bailey Simonsson to score; Williams’ conversion gave Canberra a 16-0 lead.

Bad news for Newcastle with Sauaso Sue down injured at half-time. It punctuated a poor half for the Knights, failing to make the most of their scoring chances.

HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 16 Newcastle Knights 0

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2nd Half

Newcastle got the first chance of the second half off a short kick-off and forced a goal-line drop out. Better news was Sue returning after passing his HIA. Even better news was Phoenix Crossland scoring Newcastle’s first try. Ponga converted to reduce Canberra’s lead to 16-6. The question was: would Canberra’s “Faiders” demons return, or could they survive this early try?

The signs looked good as the Raiders forced a goal-line drop out but made a mistake on the next set.

Starford To’a knocked on a huge Raiders bomb, but didn’t Captain’s Challenge it, giving Canberra a prime scrum feed.

Sebastian Kris went over, but To’a made up for his knock on by holding him up.

Newcastle scored again, this time through Ponga, as the Knights cut the margin to 16-12 with 20 minutes left.

A Williams kick out on the full indicated that a tiring Raiders were feeling the pressure. The Knights forced another goal-line drop out, with Tyson Frizell scoring off the next set, giving Newcastle the lead with 13 minutes left.

Canberra got a chance with a Knights forward pass, but Caleb Aekins knocked on a Williams grubber. A crucial error.

Canberra got a seven-tackle set with four minutes left. Could they make the most of it? No they couldn’t.

The Knights sealed an epic comeback with Jayden Brailey scoring. Amazingly, Newcastle had scored 24 straight points in the second half.

It was another epic collapse for Canberra, another scoreless second half, and their fifth loss in a row. At 3-6, Canberra’s top eight hopes are barely tenuous at best. As for Newcastle, they momentarily entered the top eight with this win. They have another winnable game next week as they open Magic Round against the Wests Tigers.

FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 16 Newcastle Knights 24

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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