Courageous Knights edged by Rabbitohs
Despite a never-say-die attitude that took the contest all the way to the 80th minute, the nib Newcastle Knights were beaten 24-18 by the Rabbitohs at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was a hotly contested first half, as the unchanged Knights took a two-point lead into the break, but a 12-point second stanza handed Souths the win.
The visitors got first points when fullback Alex Johnston sliced through on the right edge in the sixth minute to lead by four.
At the 20 minute mark, John Sutton then crossed on the left edge and with Adam Reynolds kicking the conversion, Souths extended their lead 10-0.
Minutes later, George Burgess was sent to the sin bin for an altercation with Mitch Barnett and the Knights took quick advantage of the extra man.
Trent Hodkinson did it all on his own with a try and a conversion, to get the home side back within four points.
Souths' Hymel Hunt was put on report for a high shot on fullback Brendan Elliot, before it became a family affair on the left edge, with Sione Mata’utia passing to brother Peter to level the score at 10-all.
With two minutes to go before half-time, Hodkinson kicked a penalty goal for the Knights to take the lead for the first time in the match, 12-10.
Minutes after the break a pin-point kick by Cody Walker landed in the hands of winger Bryson Goodwin to score. With Reynolds' conversion, the Rabbitohs regained the lead 16-12.
A tough tackle by Sione Mata’utia won the Knights possession soon after, but he was assisted off the field following a head clash, before a spectacular pass by Reynolds to the right corner gifted Braidon Burns his first try.
The Rabbitohs led 22-12 after 58 minutes.
Elliot had to be helped from the field after a collision with Souths’ Goodwin, before the referee sent Hodkinson to the sin bin for dissent with ten minutes to play.
Reynolds booted the penalty goal and the Rabbitohs stretched their lead to 24-12.
In the final minutes before the siren, a Ken Sio grounding went to the bunker and was deemed a try. Brock Lamb kicked the sideline conversion but it wasn’t enough, the Rabbitohs winning 24-18.
Newcastle Knights 18 (T: Hodkinson, P. Mata’utia, Sio, G: Hodkinson 1/2, Lamb 1/1, PG: Hodkinson 1)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 ( T: Johnston, Sutton, Goodwin, Burns, G: Reynolds 4/5