The Newcastle Knights have come from 14 points down to take a hard fought 30-24 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in front of 14,095 fans in Newcastle.
The Knights were looking to go back to back at home after their win last Friday night up against the Parramatta Eels but a tougher task in the Gold Coast Titans awaited the Knights. The Knights were able to get onto the scoreboard first when Mitch Barnett was in the right spot at the right time to clean up a Nick Meaney kick after a Titans player couldn't clean the ball up. The conversion attempt from out wide by Ken Sio was missed and the Knights lead 4-0 after 10 minutes.
The Titans were able to level things up just shy of the 20 minute mark when Anthony Don got his first of the afternoon when the Knights right side defence rushed up from their spots for no reason leaving a gap for Anthony Don to stroll through out wide and get the ball down with a good finish, the conversion was pushed to the left from Michael Gordon and the scores were locked up at 4 all.
Momentum began to swing the Titans way after their first four pointer and although it took them another 15 minutes to get their second try of the afternoon. The second try for the Titans was one of the more unconventional NRL tries you will see when Mitch Rein used his speed out of dummy half to make good metres and send the Knights defence retreating before Nathan Peats was able to get himself into the in-goal before throwing an offload that was deflected off a Knights player and Moeaki Fotuaika cleaned up the crumbs. The Titans extended their lead with a penalty goal to take a 12-10 lead.
The Knights were able to strike back just before the break when rookie fullback Nick Meaney chased through a Mitchell Pearce chip kick aimed at the posts to score his first career try in the NRL and after Sio's conversion the Knights went into the sheds trailing 12-10.
The start to the second half was forgettable for the Knights with the Titans coming out like a house on fire with big metres being gained by the Titans forwards and the Knights couldn't provide any answers. The Titans first try of the second half was again set up by Mitch Rein who was able to catch the Knights defence napping in the middle of the field and put the Titans into good field position before a string of passes out to Phillip Sami sent the winger into score and after Michael Gordon converted the Titans lead by 8.
The second try of the Titans was a pure piece of good luck for the visitors when Ash Taylor looked to settle things down by putting in a kick for the sideline, the bad luck for the Knights was that Taylor's kick went straight into the foot of Cory Denniss and bounced back up to Ash Taylor who found Anthony Don on the outside who had too much speed for the Knights and he strolled around to score and the Titans lead by 14.
In Soccer a 2-0 lead is considered to be the most dangerous, well the NRL proved their equivalent is 14 because the 14 point margin struck again because from that point on the Titans house on fire was quickly extinguished by the home side. The Knights struck back on the 55 minute mark when the Knights elected to use a short ball on the last when Lachlan Fitzgibbon got the ball at full speed close to the line and he was able to spin his way out of the tackle and plant the ball down.
The Knights again pulled out the same tactic on the last tackle when they scored their next try except it was Mitch Barnett who picked up his second try of the match after he too got a short ball from Danny Levi at dummy half and he had too much strength to get over the line to score. The Knights were back within just two points after Sio's conversion.
The Knights added a penalty goal to level things up with 10 minutes to go before they were able to cross again with just over 5 minutes to go to secure the victory when Shaun Kenny-Dowall went through a gaping hole in the retreating Titans defence. The Titans had a couple of chances in the last five minutes deep on the Knights line but some uncomposed play saw the Knights survive.
Next weekend, the Newcastle Knights have a trip to Townsville where they take on the Cowboys on Friday night in the 6pm game whilst the Titans return to the Gold Coast on Sunday for a clash with the Warriors.