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ISP Knights bested by Dragons at home

The nib Newcastle Knights ISP were defeated 32-16 by the St George Illawarra Dragons in Round 12 at Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium.

The Knights began strong, with repeat sets on the Dragons line and an array of penalties in the Knights' favour meaning the Dragons were on the back foot from the get go.

The Knights looked dangerous gaining momentum on the left edge, before a would-be try from Matt Allwood was disallowed due to double movement.

However, it was the Dragons who drew first blood, with winger John Tohi slipping past the Knights' edge defence to put four points on the board, just shy of the sideline. Halfback Darren Nicholls converted the try, and the Dragons led 6-nil 20 minutes in.

The Dragons continued to keep the Knights on their own line well into the first half, however they failed to capitalise after three repeat sets.

A penalty in front of the sticks gave the Dragons the opportunity to further increase their lead. Nicholls nailed the penalty goal and the Knights trailed 8-nil with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

Determined to go into half time with points on the board, the Knights scored with just five minutes remaining with a grubber through the line defence from Hayden Loughrey in dummy half, and Luke Yates planted the ball just short of the dead-ball line. The Knights couldn't convert, and trailed 8-4.

The Knights continued to look dangerous in the dying minutes of the first half, with Beau Fermor finding a gap on the left edge before halfway and making a 30-metre dash up the sideline before passing back in-field for Tom Hughes to score under the posts. Jack Johns nailed the conversion from in front and the Knights led the Dragons 10-8 going into half time.

The Dragons put their best foot forward early in the second half, with the scrambled Knights defence playing to the advantage of Dragons Steven Marsters who crossed the line to the right of the posts. Nicholls converted the try line and the Dragons reclaimed the lead, 14-10.

The next 20 minutes saw end-to-end footy for both teams, who showed promise in small glimpses, but could not rally up the points, and so a close game remained between the Knights and Dragons.

A beautiful pass from Tom Starling fed Loughrey through a gap in the Dragons line 30 metres out from the try line, who sprinted towards the posts uncontested and evened the score for the Knights. Johns converted the goal with 16 minutes remaining and the Knights reclaimed the lead, 16-14.

The Dragons returned serve with 13 minutes remaining through a strong surge from dummy half from Hame Sele who barged through the Knights defence and put the Dragon back in the lead. Nicholls converted the try, and the score increased to 20-16.

The Dragons kept on the heat, and had another swipe at the line through Blake Lawrie, who skated across the turf for his points. Nicholls maintained his perfect kick percentage and brought the gap to 10 for the Dragons.

An attacking shift from right to left saw the Dragons take advantage of open space through a kick from Nicholls to the left edge, where Jordan Pereira rose above the Knights defence to snatch the ball and increase the lead for the Dragons. Nicholls converted, and the Knights trailed 32-16 going into fulltime.


Knights 16 (T: Yates, Hughes, Loughrey, G: Johns 1/2, Meaney 1/1)
Dragons 32 (T: Tohi, Martsers, Sele, Lawrie, Pereira, G: Nicholls 5/5, PG: Nicholls 1/1)