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The Panthers wore out and ground down the Knights in the second half to score a comfortable 29-18 win at McDonald Jones Stadium tonight.
Penrith were the first side to cross the stripe with a nice set play where Merrin ran a decoy while the ball went to Campbell-Gillard. The big man ran between two defenders and dunked the ball over the line for a strong try which Maloney converted
The next ten minutes saw both sides on the receiving end of a number of penalties before Peachey put on a step off his right as he received a pass at first receiver and then made a beeline for the try line, barging over for a good solo try. Maloney added the extras.
The Knights hit back straight away through some slick play on the left side. Ponga committed a defender before passing to Barnett. Barnett got tackled, but just before he hit the ground, he got a great ball away to Watson who stepped back inside to score. Ponga converted.
Fitzgibbon made a good break shortly after and found Watson and from the next play the Knights looked to have scored again, however it was disallowed after Watson was found to have obstructed the marker defence.
A great ball from Fitzgibbon to Watson, saw the half make a break before throwing a woeful pass inside to Ponga, but it goes behind him. Peachey cleaned up and ran downfield before linking with Watene-Zelezniak who scored a good counter-attacking try. Maloney's sideline conversion was good.
The half ended with the Panthers giving away a bunch of penalties, none of which the Knights capitalised on.
Newcastle dominated possession after the break and after 5 minutes of play, Lamb stepped off his left foot from a standing start and then found his way through a small gap before passing to Ponga who ran away to score. Sio slotted the easy goal to get the Knights within 6.
From the restart Saifiti spilled a regulation pass cold and a few plays after the scrum, Maloney calmly potted a field goal from in front.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Penrith started to dominate and on the 70th minute Maloney put in a nice kick which Harawira-Naera followed through to take an easy catch and score. Maloney again converted. A few minutes later he kicked a penalty goal.
With three minutes remaining the Knights scored when Ross scored a good try off the back of an unbelievable offload by Barnett to Sio, who then found Ross backing up. Lamb converted.
The Knights couldn't put on any more points and the Panthers won 29-18 - Newcastle are off to the Gold Coast next week to try to get back into the winners circle, while the mountain men have back to back home games against the Wests Tigers and Dragons before the Origin bye.
Newcastle Knights 18 - Penrith Panthers 29
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 6 Penrith Panthers 18
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - James Maloney
2 points - Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
1 points - Lachlan Fitzgibbon
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (18)
Tries: Connor Watson, Kalyn Ponga, Nathan Ross
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (1/1), Ken Sio (1/1), Brock Lamb (1/1)
PENRITH PANTHERS (29)
Tries: Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Tyrone Peachey, Dallin Watene Zelezniak, Corey Harawera Naera
Field Goals: James Maloney (1/1)
Conversions: James Maloney (4/4)
Penalty Goals: James Maloney (2/2)