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Newcastle have kept their faint finals hopes alive defeating fellow hopefuls Brisbane 44-18 in front of 16,668 fans at EnergyAustralia Stadium tonight.
Most people would have expected the game to feature highlights from a player defecting to a rival code but it wasn't Israel Folau to star, it was Knights winger Cooper Vuna who scored four tries and sadly departing the game for rugby union.
After an early scare with the video referee, Newcastle would post first points with Jarrod Mullen giving it to Kurt Gidley who ran a nice line to score. Brisbane would hit back though, with Andrew McCullough finding the smallest of openings to square the ballgame up again.
MCullough would be the architect again, poking his nose through and offloading to Hoffman bringing Brisbane ahead after twenty minutes 12-6.
Newastle would claw their way back to the lead, with some enterprising play, firstly from Adam MacDougall to equal the club try-scoring and the second from running on the last, Mullen puts it crossfield to give Vuna his first of four for the night.
It would be 18-12 with seven to play in the half but Akuila Uate can never be denied a try, he crossed two minutes before the break off another Newcastle movement and a Mullen missed field goal taking the scoreline to 24-12 at halftime.
The second half would just repeat the last twenty minutes of the first, Newcastle looking the only team who would break the line and they did just that with Vuna keeping his foot inside the whitewash to continue the rout.
Ten minutes later, he would complete a hat-trick off a nice kick from the outside of Jarrod Mullen's boot who seems to have found some form again. Just to put some extra emphasis on his performance, Vuna produced a fourth try diving over from a Shannon McDonell offload.
Brisbane started to put some oomph in their work, too late and backed up with Israel Folau showing some individual brilliance to make the scoreline more respectable but that didn't last long with Isaac De Gois claiming a four pointer making the final scoreline 44-18.
Newcastle have a much tougher ask next week, facing ladder leaders St George Illawarra but one thing in their favour is the fact it will be at EnergyAustralia while Brisbane will hope Darren Lockyer will be back after a rib injury when they travel across the ditch to face New Zealand with Matt Gillett under a suspension cloud.
Newcastle Knights 44 defeated Brisbane Broncos 18
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 24 - Friday August 20, 2010 7:35pm
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Referee: Ben Cummins and Gavin Badger
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: David Abood and Adam Devcich
Halftime: Newcastle Knights 24 Brisbane Broncos 12
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cooper Vuna (4 Tries)
2 Points - Jarrod Mullen
1 Point - Kurt Gidley (1 Try, 6 Conversions)
Newcastle Knights (44)
Tries: Kurt Gidley, Adam MacDougall, Cooper Vuna (4), Akuila Uate, Isaac De Gois
Field Goals: Jarrod Mullen (0/1)
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (6/8)
Brisbane Broncos (18)
Tries: Andrew McCullough, Josh Hoffman, Israel Folau
Conversions: Corey Parker (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to a cold Energy Australia Stadium for tonights clash between Brisbane and Newcastle, with both sides looking for a win that'll keep them in touch with the top eight. Brisbane are one through to seventeen, with Cameron Ciraldo out for Newcastle replaced by Con Mika.
Earlier tonight in the National Youth Competition, Brisbane had a good away victory 38 points to 22.
1 min: After the anthems, both sides are out onto the field. Broncos will kick off through Norman and here we go.
2 min: Newcastle try to run the ball on last but the ballboy on the sideline is in the best position to catch the ball.
The video referee is checking if Yow Yeh wasn't given a chance at the footy.
3 min: Penalty to Brisbane, it's ruled he was taken out.
4 min: Sam Thaiday has spilled it out in front of him, giving Newcastle a breather.
5 min: Schoolboy error by McCullough there, throwing it forward to Thaiday from dummy-half.
8 min: TRY
Newcastle off some repeat penalties have scored, Mullen goes to the line and Kurt Gidley hits the hole and powers over. Gidley has no problems with the conversion either and pilots it over.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
10 min: A brilliant kick from Wallace traps Cooper Vuna near his own line, he gets out but is bundled into touch. Newcastle blowing up for a penalty.
13 min: TRY
Horrible defending from Newcastle, McCullough goes himself and uses his leg drive to crash over. Parker locks it up again with this conversion.
14 min: Piggyback penalty for Brisbane to help them out of their own end.
16 min: Newcastle get lucky with a bomb almost catching them unaware but they get a restart.
19 min: TRY
McCullough is cutting up some slow Brisbane forwards, dummying and finding open air also sending Hoffman away to score a nice try. Parker makes it two from two thus far tonight.
Brisbane Broncos 12-6
29 min: TRY
Newcastle refuse to die with the footy and Shannon McDonell offloads for Adam MacDougall who scores his first try for the night. Gidley pilots it between the posts again.
32 min: TRY
Jarrod Mullen with some excellant vision to run it on the last throwing to MacDougall who dances with the defence dribbles one backwards and Mullen again with the ball kicks crossfield for Vuna who just scores easily. Gidley from the sideline almost, walks in, strikes it annnnd its good.
Newcastle Knights 18-12
34 min: Newcastle will launch another attacking raid after a fifth tackle penalty.
34 min: Ben Hunt pulls off a magnificent one on one strip to prevent Newcastle getting any momentum from that penalty.
Checking with the video referee, seeing if Akuila Uate has his 21st try of the season.
38 min: TRY
Newcastle are keeping it alive at will and once they get it to Akuila Uate who with ten metres to run does it easily to score. Gidley hits the upright and it's in.
Newcastle Knights 24-12
40 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Brisbane have spectacularly died with the football on last with thirty seconds to go. Mullen eyes a field goal but it goes wide. Halftime.
Newcastle Knights 24-12
41 min: Brisbane are back onto the field, now joined by Newcastle. The latter will kick off and do so, here we go for the second half.
43 min: Ivan Henjak will jump out of the box soon, with these penalties they are conceding. This time it's a strip sending Newcastle close to the line.
Cooper Vuna could have his second, wanting confirmation though.
45 min: TRY
The halftime speech hasn't worked for Brisbane, Newcastle attack the shortside and to Vuna who keeps his foot inside the touchline to score. Gidley with another tough kick from the sideline and nails it, there is nothing he won't kick tonight.
Newcastle Knights 30-12
45 min: Wes Naiqama has given Rick Stone a few more gray hairs with an error on his own forty metre line.
50 min: Brisbane seemed to have aimed up now but Gillett has been called out for a lifting tackle and put on report. Penalty to Newcastle.
55 min: TRY
Cooper Vuna is having a field day, after a kick from the outside of Mullens boot bounces up right for him to score his hat-trick. Gidley moves in and misses his first for the night.
Newcastle Knights 34-12
56 min: Brisbane compound a pretty miserable night, knocking on early in the tackle count.
58 min: Here is an opportunity for Brisbane after a knock on from Newcastle. McCullough nearly undoes all that work though with a silly offload but not called. Norman almost pokes his head through but knocks on.
Cooper Vuna might have four tries here tonight, but checking with the video referee.
62 min: TRY
Vuna has the magic touch tonight, Newcastle have just shown more urgency for the ball, McDonell gets it off to Vuna who just beats Falou to score his fourth for the night. Gidley misses his second for the night.
Newcastle Knights 38-12
64 min: Brisbane will get a rare repeat set after Newcastle are trapped in-goal.
65 min: Norman for the second time in the match, has dropped the ball in front of him again.
69 min: TRY
Individual brilliance gets Folau over the line here, to close the gap between the two sides on the scoreboard. Parker closes it further with his third conversion for the night.
Newcastle Knights 38-18
73 min: Newcastle will get a repeat set, off an easy kick.
75 min: TRY
Gidley rockets himself to the line but can't get there offloading to De Gois who accepts the easy try with glee. Gidley has easy work from in front.
Newcastle Knights 44-18
75 min: Rudderless best describes Brisbane tonight, conceding another penalty.
77 min: Brisbane with some defence they could have used earlier stop the Knights and they try to put on a play themselves but McDonell bats it dead. Dropout.
80 min: Brisbane will do nothing special in the last set of the match, just like most of their game and send us to fulltime.