Classic Clashes - Round 9

Many people know of the rivalry between the nib Newcastle Knights and the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but few know how it originated.

It comes down to a single match, held at Marathon Stadium in Round 23 of the 1999 season.

A home crowd of 21,820 demanded no mercy against a weakened Rabbitohs squad where the Knights answered the call and defeated the bunnies 60-0 in such fashion it went down in Newcastle's history.

The Knights took the field, led by captain Tony Butterfield and quickly opened the scoring in fine form with a try from Andrew Johns, who then went on to convert his own try for a 6-0 lead.

Robbie O'Davis kept the ball rolling for the Knights in the seventh minute, and Billy Peden took a slice of the pie just three minutes later, with both tries converted by Johns. Newcastle then led the Rabbitohs 18-0 just 10 minutes into the game.

The next 20 minutes saw end-to-end footy for both teams, with the Rabbitohs failing to break through a tough Knights defensive barrier.

However, the red and blue controlled the tempo for the remainder of the first half, with tries in the 29th and 31st minutes from star hooker Danny Buderus who tore through the middle to put one under the dot. Adam MacDougall then tore past Chris Caruana too put one down on the left edge and Johns converted both tries to see the Knights stretch to 30-0 going into half time.


Although the Rabbitohs looked determined coming out of the change rooms, the Knights started the second half much the same as the first and sent over Johns in the 44th minute in what was their first glimpse of the try line in the second half. Johns converted that try and the gap extended to 36-0.

A clever play out of the Knights halves put fullback O'Davis through a gap to sprint for the line and he added another uncontested four points for the home team. Johns converted the try and maintained a perfect kicking accuracy for the entirety of the game with the Knights in-front 42-0 in the 51st minute.

The red and blue continued to do a job on the left edge from the 64th minute through to the sound of the final buzzer, as Mark Hughes crossed the line three times, making a mockery of the Rabbitohs edge defence to collect his hat-trick.

Centre Owen Craigie took over goal kicking duties for the remainder of the match and nailed all three attempts to bring Newcastle to one of their finest ever defeats, 60-0 over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.