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Back-to-back tries in the second half has seen the South Sydney Rabbitohs claim a third straight victory, with a 28-10 win over the Newcastle Knights in front of a healthy 16,098 crowd at Bluetongue Stadium.
Souths lacked the intensity of their previous round thrashing of the Canterbury Bulldogs but still managed to beat an unconvincing Knights team that struggled to capitalise on their opportunities.
The match started with a try to Knights prop Dan Tolar, who crashed over the line thanks to a brilliant one arm offload from Cory Paterson. However, the Rabbitohs hit back when LeagueUnlimited Man of the Match Issac Luke provided the pass for winger Nathan Merritt to touch down in the corner. Luke nailed the conversion from the sideline, giving Souths a 6-4 advantage.
The remainder of the first half was riddled with dropped ball from both sides, before a Beau Champion four-pointer stretched the Rabbitohs lead to 12-4 at the break.
Newcastle's night was made even tougher when they started the second forty without halfback Scott Dureau, who was kept in the shed with a hip injury. However, they managed to score the first points through Fijian flyer Akuila Uate to put the game back in the balance at 12-10.
But two quick tries from outside backs Fetuli Talanoa and Nathan Merritt gave South an unassailable lead. Talanoa was able to pounce on a kick from Dave Taylor, while Merritt showed trademark speed and agility when he scorched down the sideline and stepped infield to score under the posts.
A late four-pointer to fullback Rhys Wesser put the icing on the cake for the boys from Redfern.
Souths will look to continue their good form against the Parramatta Eels next Sunday afternoon. The Knights play the North Queensland Cowboys at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Saturday and are in desperate need of a win having lost their past four games.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 defeated Newcastle Knights 10
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 5 - Saturday April 10, 2010 5:30pm
Venue: Bluetongue Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Phil Haines
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Ricky McFarlane
Halftime: South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Newcastle Knights 4
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Issac Luke (3 Conversions)
2 Points - Rhys Wesser (1 Try)
1 Point - Sam Burgess
South Sydney Rabbitohs (28)
Tries: Rhys Wesser, Beau Champion, Nathan Merritt (2), Fetuli Talanoa
Conversions: Issac Luke (3/4)
Newcastle Knights (10)
Tries: Daniel Tolar, Akuila Uate
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (1/1), Scott Dureau (0/1), Isaac De Gois (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening and welcome to tonights coverage of the clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Newcastle Knights from the neutral venue of Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium.
Souths claimed the Under 20s 48-34.
Souths are as per program.
Newcastle have a number of changes - Adam MacDougall is out due to injury, his spot in the centres is taken by Wes Naiqama. Daniel Tolar and Richard Fa'aoso will start in the front row, while the new man on the bench is Cameron Ciraldo in jersey 18.
Perfect conditions here at Gosford, clear skies and the playing field looks immaculate.
1 min: Kick off! Souths will run left to right.
1 min: Knights making plenty of metres in the opening set and a kick finds touch 15 metres out from Souths line.
4 min: Scott Dureau chips over the top, Souths make an error giving the Knights the ball in prime attacking position.
5 min: Jarrod Mullen grubbers into the Souths ingoal and earns his team a repeat set.
7 min: TRY
Knights second rower Cory Paterson charges into the defence and pops a miracle left arm offload for Dan Tolar who just has to fall over the line. Dureau misses a fairly easy kick.
Newcastle Knights 4-0
9 min: Roy Asotasi leaves the field and heads off into the dressing room. An injury concern perhaps?
11 min: The Knights are penalised for being offside, the Rabbitohs restart play on the 40 metre line.
12 min: Video referee - possible Souths try..
12 min: TRY
Isaac Luke drifts across the field and draws in the defence before firing the pass for Nathan Merritt to touch down in the corner. Luke converts from the sideline.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-4
15 min: Chris Sandow shows some enterprise with a chip kick but Knights fullback Shannon McDonnell fields the ball easily.
18 min: Dan Tolar drops the ball in the tackle and Souths get the scrum feed inside the Knights half.
19 min: Souths spread the ball wide but a Rhys Wesser cut out pass is ruled forward.
21 min: Junior Sau runs straight through his opposing centre but is tackled in the last line of defence by Wesser.
23 min: Ben Cross attempts an offload but knocks on, Souths with the ball on their 30 metre line.
23 min: Uate with an error on the wing as the Knights attack. A number of mistakes creeping into the game for both sides.
27 min: Chris Sandow runs the ball on the last tackle and makes a half break but can't find support and instead passes to Knights centre Sau.
29 min: A Sutton bomb is well taken by a flying Shannon McDonnell.
31 min: Souths forward Sam Burgess makes a charge for the line and loses the ball but Burgess claims it was stripped - the referee doesn't listen.
33 min: TRY
Knights second rower Cory Paterson grubber kicks on the last tackle but it goes straight into the legs of Beau Champion, who simply picks up the ball and runs 40 metres to score untouched. Luke converts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-4
36 min: Scott Dureau is down injured for the Knights - he was hit after he kicked the ball but it wasn't late or high and it's ruled play on.
38 min: Paterson drops the ball and Souths get one last chance to attack the Knights line before the break.
38 min: The Knights hold on thanks to an error from McPherson.
Halftime: It's been a pretty scrappy affair so far with both teams making some pretty basic errors. Souths look a little more dangerous than their opposition and the Knights will probably have to play on without halfback Scott Dureau, who hobbled off with what looked like a leg injury just before the break.
41 min: The second half is underway - the Knights kick off.
43 min: Video referee - possible Souths try..
43 min: No try - John Sutton puts up a monster bomb, Knights fullback Shannon McDonnell fumbles it backwards into the ingoal and Chris Sandow knocks on in his attempt to ground the ball.
46 min: Sutton hoists another kick high into the air, McDonnell catches it easily this time.
48 min: Souths spread the ball but the pass from Burgess to Champion doesn't find the mark - there was an opportunity for a try there.
50 min: Garret Crossman drops the ball and the Knights get the scrum feed on halfway.
51 min: TRY
The Knights get their first real attacking chance of the half and Akuila Uate capitalises on an overlap to score out wide. Naiqama slots it from the sideline and Newcastle are back in it.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-10
54 min: A penalty to Newcastle gives them more good field position - the momentum is with Newcastle at the moment.
56 min: Cory Paterson fends off the defence but offloads to the opposition by mistake. We've seen a few offloads go astray tonight.
57 min: A Knights cross field kick is fumbled by Fetuli Talanoa - Newcastle with the ball inside Souths 20.
59 min: Video referee - possible Knights try..
59 min: No try - Knights prop Dan Tolar tries to barge over under the posts but is held up.
61 min: Luke makes a break up the middle but the cover defence converges and shuts down the play.
62 min: Video referee - possible Souths try..
62 min: TRY
David Taylor scoops the ball up one handed from dummy half, runs down the short side and puts in a beautifully weighted grubber into the ingoal. Winger Fetuli Talanoa wins the race and grabs his first try of the season. Luke's kick drifts wide.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 16-10
65 min: TRY
Souths go back to back! The Rabbitohs run it on the last tackle with some nice draw and passes before the ball finds Merritt - he scorches down the sideline, steps inside and scores under the posts. Luke converts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-10
70 min: The Knights get repeat sets on Souths line.
70 min: Issac Luke is penalised for taking out Mullen, it was ruled late but contact was pretty much simultaneous.
73 min: Ben Lowe hits Cooper Vuna high and is placed on report.
73 min: Time starting to run out for Newcastle and they're really trying to keep the ball alive.
74 min: Backrower Cameron Ciraldo kicks dead ingoal, the ball needed to find Mullen on the last tackle.
77 min: Issac Luke catches the markers offside and Souths are on the attack.
78 min: TRY
Souths put the icing on the cake with a try to Rhys Wesser. Burgess offloaded to Sutton, who kicked ahead for Wesser to dive on the ball under the posts. Luke adds the two points.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28-10
Fulltime: Souths had too much in attack for the Knights, who ran out of juice at the end of the second half. Two wins in a row now for Souths, the Knights haven't won since round one.