The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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In front of a crowd of 15,212, the Rabbitohs have spoiled the Knights hopes of having consecutive wins for the first time in over a year, defeating the Knights 24-18.
It was Robbie Farah's 250th NRL match, it was made even more special for the whole team at McDonald Jones Stadium in the Hunter.
Near the beginning of a very windy contest, Alex Johnston flew past the Knights left side defence, opening the scoring for the Rabbitohs, putting the visitors ahead by 4 points after just 7 minutes.
A few errors saw the Knights hand the next try to the away team as well. A wonderful play by Farah from dummy-half, passing to Cody Walker, who then gave a short pass to John Sutton, saw Sutton crossing over the line, and the Bunnies extended their lead to 10-nil!
A brain explosion by George Burgess saw the bustling Rabbitohs forward connect an elbow to the face of Mitch Barnett after he had dropped the ball. With that, a back hand and throwing punches, it saw big George sent marching to the Sin Bin. It seemed a lucky call for Souths, as many would agree that an elbow should see a player sent-off.
The second half saw the Bunnies open up the scoring once again, with Bryson Goodwin scoring off a try assist from Cody Walker, putting the Rabbitohs up 16-12. Bryson today was wearing a black armband in remembrance of his late older brother Leon Goodwin, who passed away yesterday.
Jamie Buhrer and Danny Levi had a scintillating run down field, passing back and forth like a hot bread roll at a buffet, gaining huge metres and lifting the Knights spirits. Dane Gagai's bullet pass to Ken Sio saw the effort go down the drain, as a pass too quickly forced the Knights to whack on the brakes.
Toward the 58 minute mark, Adam Reynolds threw a beautiful rainbow pass to a young Braidon Burns who crossed the line for his first NRL try! The Rabbitohs were up 22-12, and the Knights were feeling the pressure.
With ten to go, the Knights were awarded a scrum, which saw Souths win the feed, leaving Trent Hodkinson unhappy. Normally a kind man, 'Hodko' said to the referee "You've just cost us the game" and became the second player marched to the bin for ten minutes, and essentially out for the rest of the game.
A few penalties awarded to Souths saw Adam Reynolds take advantage of those calls, and the Rabbitohs extended their lead to 12 points!
A last-ditch attempt saw Ken Sio cross the line with a spectacular one-handed try, and a wonderful conversion from the sideline by a very quick Brock Lamb. The Knights were only down 24-18 at this point, and they had possession. Unfortunately, after the kick-off, Peter Mata'utia lost the ball, signalling that the Rabbitohs had indeed won, and Farah finally earned a milestone win!
Newcastle Knights 18 - South Sydney Rabbitohs 24
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 12 South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cody Walker
2 points - Nathan Ross
1 points - Brock Lamb
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (18)
Tries: Trent Hodkinson, Peter Mata'utia, Ken Sio
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (1/2), Brock Lamb (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Trent Hodkinson (1/1)
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (24)
Tries: Alex Johnston, John Sutton, Bryson Goodwin, Braidon Burns
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (1/1)