The Newcastle Knights were beaten 34-12 by the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Hunter Stadium on Old Boys Day.
It was a big day for the Club with Jeremy Smith playing the final home game of his career, but unfortunately it was a loss for the Knights in their final home game of the 2016 season.
With a number of forced changes Dylan Phythian made a promising NRL debut, coming off the bench and scoring a try in a matter of seconds.
Nines minutes in the first points were scored following several repeat sets from the Rabbitohs. While the Knights had been doing well in defence with a series of strong tackles, a grubber from Adam Reynolds on the last play took a wicked deflection over the top of Cory Denniss and Greg Inglis followed it up to get a try.
While the Knights were working hard for each another, they were also struggling to make any real metres up the field. That all changed with 25 minutes on the clock, as a penalty and then a strong end of set kick from Trent Hodkinson gave the Knights an extended period of attack.
It looked as though it could result in a try, until Mitch Barnett lost the ball and Rabbitohs centre Hymel Hunt scooped it up to run 80 metres. Two plays later Souths scored, Alex Johnston strolling over untouched.
Three minutes from half time the Rabbitohs were over for their third, Reynolds putting in a banana kick that Cody Walker grabbed on the full to run over between the uprights. Reynolds converted to make the score 16-0, and then three minutes into the second half Aaron Gray busted out of a tackle to score.
With 55 minutes played debutant Dylan Phythian came on, and ninety seconds later he scored with a dart from dummy-half. It was a tenacious play that paid off for the rookie, and Hodkinson converted to make the score 22-6.
Celebrations were short lived from the Knights though, as Pat Mata’utia dropped the ball from kick off and soon after Sam Burgess bullied his way over the line to score. Reynolds converted, and then ten minutes later put another try on a plate for Alex Johnston with a chip to the right corner.
The Knights got the final points of the match though, Jake Mamo putting through a little chip for himself to chase down and score near the uprights. Man of the moment Smith slotted the conversion to make the final score 34-12.
The Knights take on the St George Illawarra Dragons in the final match of the season next Saturday at Kogarah Oval.
Newcastle Knights 12 (T: Phythian, Mamo, G: Hodkinson 1/1, Smith 1/1)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 (T: Inglis, Johnston 2, Walker, Gray, S Burgess, G: Reynolds 5/6)