The Harold Matthews Newcastle Knights were defeated 16-14 by the Parramatta Eels in a thrilling Grand Final match at Pepper Stadium.
It was tough contest in the middle from the outset with the Knights’ gritty display of defence managing to contain an energetic Parramattta Eels side in attack.
Yet in the sixteenth minute it was Parramatta to score first via Charbel Taispale after solid groundwork from Hyrum Wichmann. Kyle Schneider slotted the conversion to make it 6-0.
The Knights hit back six minutes later when halfback Phoenix Crosslands puzzled the defence with a dummy pass to score just right of the posts. Madden’s conversion tied up the score at 6-6.
The teams went into the sheds level at 6-6.
Seven minutes into the second stanza a Madden penalty goal, which bounced favorably off the post, gifted the Knights a two-point lead.
But moments after Parramatta’s William Kei was over with Schnieder’s kick extending the Eel’s score to 12-8.
Parramatta’s Taispale then bagged a double in the corner, this time kicker Schneider missing a challenging sideline conversion, 16-8.
Just five minutes before full time, the game was turned up a notch when winger Timana Alexander scored, making it easier for Madden to convert his try by grounding it between the posts.
With the score now separated by two points, 16-14, and just minutes left of play, the Knights fought courageously in attack.
A dazzling run by Jock Madden looked like the Knights were in for a sure try, but the five-eighth was held up in goal.
Despite a steely show of determination, the young Knights were unable to make up the two-point deficit and were defeated 16-14 by the Parramatta Eels.
Newcastle Knights 14: (T: Crossland, Alexander; G: Madden 2/2, P: 1)
Parramatta Eels 16: (T: Taispale 2, Kei G: Schneider 2/3).
1. Matthew Smith, 2. Teva Mataora, 3. Shaun Casey, 4. Toby Marks, 5. Bradman Best, 6. Jock Madden, 7. Phoenix Crossland, 8. Lachlan Pope, 9. Cameron Davies, 10. Kingsley Jennings, 11. Ross Haidle, 12. Joel Dark, 13. Brock Gardner. Interchange: 14. Tyran Ott, 17. Tom Baker, 19. Timana Alexander, 20. Sam Jones.