NRL Round 27: Knights 32, Dragons 12

A red-hot Knights defeated the flailing Dragons in the final round of the regular season – Elinya Chenery reviews.

Result

Newcastle Knights 32
Tries: (6) Dominic Young 76th, 78th; Jacob Saifiti 1st; Enari Tuala 7th; Greg Marzhew 31st; Fa’amanu Brown 43rd
Goals: (4) Lachlan Miller 2nd, 8th, 45th; Tyson Gamble 73rd

St. George Illawarra Dragons 12
Tries: (2) Ben Hunt 17th; Mikaele Ravalawa 66th
Goals: (2) Zac Lomax 18th, 67th

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Report

Being the last match of the regular season, a Dragons home game and the Knights on an eight-game winning streak, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium had an electric atmosphere in the air. Not to mention, it was also referee Ben Cummins’ final outing with the whistle after 443 games officiating at the highest level, making him the most decorated referee in NRL history.

The Knights didn’t take long in capitalising on an early penalty, marching their way down field before captain Jacob Saifiti stormed over in the opening minute of play for his first try of the season. This effort was soon followed up by Enari Tuala, who benefited off a line break from five-eighth Tyson Gamble to stroll over for the Knights’ second of the evening. Ben Hunt then pulled off a masterclass of the classic chip ‘n’ chase, managing to reclaim his own skilfully weighted kick to hit back for the home side. A nice piece of sliding attack out to the left then allowed the Newcastle outfit to extend their lead through prolific try-scorer Greg Marzhew, leaving the scores standing at 16-6 to the visitors going into the break.

The Knights got straight back into their groove following the resumption of play for the second half, with Fa’amanu Brown using brute strength to crash his way over the line only minutes into the second 40. A flying Mikaele Ravalawa would then pull off a miracle and keep the ball in the field of play to give the Dragons a slight chance at making a comeback with just short of 15 minutes left to play, but it would be too little too late. Despite Newcastle’s Lachlan Miller being sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, the Knights managed to hold the St. George outfit off until they too had a man sent for 10, with Blake Lawrie also sent from the field for a professional foul. Newcastle then ended the match in the same strong form as the second half of their season, piling on two more tries, both to the try scoring machine Dominic Young – he finished with 22 for the season, setting a new Knights record.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

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3 – Dominic Young (Knights)
2 – Greg Marzhew (Knights)
1 – Enari Tuala (Knights)

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