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South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 v Newcastle Knights 24
at Telstra Stadium
Referees: Jason Robinson
A gallant South Sydney Rabbitohs outfit has again gone down this afternoon, but not without a few heart palpitations from Newcastle coach Michael Hagan and Knights fans alike as Newcastle held on for a hard-fought 24-18 victory at Telstra Stadium.
The Rabbitohs started the stronger of the two sides; with Joe Galuvao running off a nice inside pass from half Ben Walker to cross for an early four-pointer, giving his side a 6-0 lead after just seven minutes of play.
The Knights hit back in fashion with tries to Milton Thaiday and George Carmont in the space of 10 minutes to snatch a 12-6 lead. They maintained the lead until halftime and even though the margin was just six, the Knights still looked in control to a certain degree.
Newcastle continued the momentum which they took to the break; and Danny Buderus crossed for a try right next to the uprights just 10 minutes into the second half. At that stage, you could have been forgiven for expecting a customary blowout score on the Rabbitohs.
But with six losses to open the 2006 season, Souths weren?t throwing this one away effortlessly and their best was yet to come.
David Fa?alogo started the surge 22 minutes from time, running onto a ball which may have resulted in a ruling of obstruction. Newcastle captain Andrew Johns was premature in thinking that the video referee?s decision was a foregone conclusion, and he decided not to attempt a tackle on Fa?alogo. Souths were back in the match at 18-12 with 20 minutes remaining.
Matthew Gidley was sent to the sin bin at the 64th minute, and Andrew Johns missed a relatively easy attempted field goal. The Knights looked shaky.
Their worst fears were confirmed when Adam MacDougall planted the ball down out wide to bring his side within two; and the pending conversion to Merritt was successful. The Rabbitohs leveled things up at 18-all with six minutes remaining.
A costly mistake from the kickoff cost Souths victory in the end, with Buderus crossing for his second try which appeared to seal the deal for the Knights.
There was another twist to come though; Souths were from 10 metres out from their own line with two minutes remaining, and came within a metre of forcing this game into golden point.
A reprieve for Newcastle but one can?t help but feel sorry for South Sydney, with yet another match gone begging.
Adam MacDougall was outstanding for the Rabbitohs, looking dangerous every time he touched the ball and creating havoc for the Knights? right-hand defence.
No reports to come out of this match but Milton Thaiday may have an ankle problem which will come under closer examination this week.
South Sydney host Melbourne next Saturday night at Telstra Stadium, while Newcastle host Brisbane next Sunday afternoon ? a match which will no doubt be hampered somewhat by the test match which takes place next Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 18
Tries: David Fa'alogo, Adam MacDougall, Joe Galuvao
Goals: Nathan Merritt 3/3
Newcastle Knights: 24
Tries: Danny Buderus(2), George Carmont, Milton Thaiday
Goals: Andrew Johns 4/4
By the Clock:
Cool and cloudy day here at Telstra Stadium as the teams prepare to take the field.
in: Andrew Johns, Jarrod Mullen to the bench.
out: Dustin Cooper (omitted)
The Rabbitohs are as-per-program
And we're underway in the first half!
5 min: NEWS Rabbitohs enjoying a good share of the possession early on.
7 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Joe Galuvao crosses for the first try of the match, running off a nice inside ball from halfback Ben Walker.
15 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
The Johns/Thaiday combination is in force yet again here at Telstra, with the Australian halfback putting the dynamic fullback in for the Knights' first of the afternoon.
25 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
George Carmont gets across the stripe after some excellent lead-up work from Andrew Johns and Clint Newton.
29 min: NEWS Newcastle haven't been outstanding so far in this contest but they appear to be in control of things at this stage. Andrew Johns has again improved the direction of their attack upon return, as always.
33 min: NEWS No Try ruled against Souths after it was ruled that Nathan Merritt had lost the ball after a pass from Mark Minichiello, with the video referee delivering the bad news. Still 12-6 the Knights lead.
Halftime: min: NEWS The Newcastle Knights lead the South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-6 at halftime in this round 8 clash at Telstra Stadium. The Knights looked in control for the most part of the half, apart from the early try to Souths and a late surge for points which came to no avail. Plenty of work to do for both sides in the second half to secure the victory.
40 min: NEWS Second half underway at Telstra Stadium
45 min: NEWS The intensity of this match has lifted somewhat early in the second half, both sides look threatening with the ball in hand.
50 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Razzle dazzle play from the Knights, throwing passes from pillar to post which has resulted in a Danny Buderus try close to the uprights.
58 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Controversial try awarded to Souths by the video referee after obstruction seemed like a more sensible ruling. Bad play by Andrew Johns who could have tackled David Fa'alogo but decided that an obstruction ruling was a foregone conclusion.
64 min: NEWS SIN BIN: Matthew Gidley sent to the bin after impeding Luke MacDougall, who was attempting to chase through for a kick from brother Adam. Still Newcastle 18-12 but the Rabbitohs are in with a real chance here.
69 min: NEWS Johns misses an attempted field goal from right in front, a long way out from fulltime. The Knights look rushed in attack and judging by their early intent for a field goal, may be panicking with this sudden Souths surge. Gidley in the bin for 5 more minutes. Still 18-12 with the Bunnies on the march.
74 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Adam MacDougall scores out wide and Merritt converts! Souths level things up at 18-all and an elusive first victory may well be coming their way.
76 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Buderus snuffs out any opportunity for a Souths victory with a try close-in to the ruck area. A Souths mistake from the kickoff brought about the opportunity and it looks like they'll come up short again this afternoon. Johns converts.
Fulltime min: NEWS Newcastle have finished with the points but South Sydney have finished with the admirers this afternoon at Telstra Stadium. The Bunnies were gallant in every department and Newcastle were granted the assistance of the referee on a few occasions also, which in-turn came of great assistance to them. The Knights will be relieved with the 24-18 win but they have significant improvement which needs to be made if they are to be a force in this year's premiership.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Adam MacDougall
2 - Danny Buderus
1 - Steve Simpson