The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Cronulla Sharks appeared to do no wrong in the first half as they jumped to an 18-0 lead as the Knights struggled to click into gear.
Jeff Robson was instrumental in his role as they raided the Knights line. Robson fell on an offload from Michael Gordon to post the first try of the match after three minutes.
Michael Gordon rewarded for his efforts mid-way through the first half as he broke free to score via a Pat Politoni short pass. Just minutes later Cronulla posted their third four-pointer with a team try concluding with Sosaia Feki diving over in the eastern corner. After half an hour, Cronulla in front 18-0, but that would be their last points of the game.
In the shadows of half time, Willie Mason surged through the Sharks defence after taking a bullet pass from Tyrone Roberts. Cronulla took a 18-6 lead into the break as Jeff Robson's field goal was well wide of the posts on the siren.
Newcastle would have received a mighty spray from 700 game coach, Wayne Bennett as their second half performance reflected nothing of the first. Kurt Gidley provided foundations for his team to fight back into the match.
The Knights posted 25 unanswered second half points which started with Akuila Uate's try courtesy of Jarrod Mullen's boot. Gidley followed this up in the 56th minute as Roberts linked with his halves pairing to split the Sharks line. Approaching the three-quarter mark and the game was locked at 18-all.
Beau Scott and Jarrod Mullen finished off the try scoring for the visitors as the Sharks defence lacked commitment at the back end of the match. Newcastle jumped to a 30-18 lead in the final 10 minutes.
Man of the match, Kurt Gidley secured the precious Telstra Premiership points with a field goal in the last minute of play. Newcastle showing incredible fighting spiriting to capture the victory.
It's a special round next week as the NRL celebrates #RiseForAlex Round with $1 from each attendee donated to support Alex McKinnon on his road to recovery. The Knights have a big clash against the Gold Coast at Hunter Stadium as they hope to get their season back on track. Meanwhile the Sharks have a short turnaround in preparation for the Cowboys on Friday Night.
3 points - Kurt Gidley
2 points - Kade Snowden
1 point - Michael Gordon
LATE MAIL: Sharks -Anthony Tupou starts, Sam Tagaese moves to the bench. Andrew Fifita returns on the interchange after weeks with injury.
LATE MAIL: Knights - One change for the Newcastle bench with Adam Cuthbertson dropping out of the side as he played VB NSW Cup yesterday afternoon.
1: We are UNDERWAY here at Remondis Stadium as the Cronulla Sharks kick off.
1: First penalty of the game for the Sharks, they attack 25 metres out from the Knights try line.
3: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Scored by Jeff Robson. Kick to come.
Jeff Robson gets the GREEN LIGHTS after taking a very late pass from Michael Gordon as he fell to ground. Referee happy that he managed to get control on the ball before grounding.
6: End to end football as both teams look to settle into this game
7: Jarrod Mullen puts up a twirling bomb on the end of the set and it wobbles away from Feki but managed to clean up in goal and return into the field of play before the Knights chasers arrive.
9: VIDEO REFEREE for Mullen. Original call was knock on, but to be sure we are off upstairs
10: Back to back penalties for the Knights, this one for a lifting tackle in the defensive line. Newcastle 10 metres out
11: Scrum for the Sharks after James McManus was unable to stay in the field of play as the Knights shifted across to the right side of the Sharks defence.
12: Feki was caught with the ball on last tackle and his attempt at grubber was missed and it's a change over at the 10 metre line for the Knights.
13: Jarrod Mullen looking for a 40/20 but it bounces just inside the sideline on the eastern side of the ground. Sharks working it out of their own red zone now.
13: Time off here, Willie Mason is down with the trainer looking at a possible head injury as an accident elbow from Gibbs.
15: Penalty to the Knights for a second dig in the tackle, 30 metres out from the Sharks line now.
16: A mess set from the Knights on the Sharks try line, ended with a grubber from Gidley cleaned up by Paul Gallen. Lacking a bit of direction in the Newcastle attack.
18: Andrew Fifita comes on for the Sharks, in his first game for the club in five weeks.
19: Andrew Fifita comes up with a one-on-one strip and the Sharks have possession just 5 metres out from the Knights try line.
20: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Luke Lewis makes an unforced error.
Luke Lewis unable to take the bullet short pass from Paul Gallen and the pass is dropped, not the right option from Cronulla. Scrum for the Knights 10 metres off their own line.
20: Wade Graham concedes the strip and it's a penalty for the Knights. Meanwhile Uate is getting some tape on his forehead by the trainer
21: VIDEO for the Knights, Chris Houston has scored. But possible forward pass, can't rule on it at this stage.
21: NO TRY for the Knights, knock on, accidental offside and it's a scrum Sharks 10 metres out from the line as Roberts got a touch forward to Houston before going through to score.
22: Beau Scott is penalised for crowding in the ruck, Sharks kick ahead for touch and they attack 40 metres out from the Knights try line.
23: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Michael Lichaa makes an unforced error.
NO TRY for Michael Lichaa, he failed to get a clean pick up and grounding, it's knock on and a change over for the Knights 10 metres off their own try line.
26: Penalty against the Knights, Jeremy Smith concedes on the last tackle as he held down too long with a second effort. Cronulla attack 30 metres out from the try line
27: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Scored by Michael Gordon. Kick to come.
Michael Gordon takes a brilliant short pass from Pat Politoni and the Sharks attack surges after a tough run from Paul Gallen.
31: Robbie Rochow is penalised for jumping too early at the ruck and being caught offside. Cronulla kick for touch and play the ball just shy of the half way line.
33: ZERO TACKLE for the Sharks and they attack 10 metres out
33: TRY CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Scored by Sosaia Feki. Kick to come.
Sosaia Feki has finished off a brilliant shifting play from the Sharks as it all started with an offload from Andrew Fifita on the zero tackle. Jeff Robson could have scored himself but the spread continued as they shifted to the left winger.
37: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Willie Mason. Kick to come.
Willie Mason dances through the Sharks defence after taking a great pass from Tyrone Roberts, the long pass cut out the defence and he slot in easily. The Sharks costly error seeing points scored.
39: The kick off is brilliant for the Sharks, Gordon manages to get the ball to bounce inside the sideline and they are rewarded with a scrum 10 metres out
40: HALF TIME at Remondis Stadium sees the Sharks in control over the Knights, 18-6
41: Second half is UNDERWAY as the Knights kick off and they managed to get the ball as the Sharks wait for the bounce
44: 20 metre tap for the Knights as the last tackle kick from the Sharks is too long.
45: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Andrew Fifita makes an unforced error.
Andrew Fifita fighting in a tackle trying to offload and the one handed grip isn't enough to hold onto the ball. Scrum for the Knights 5 metres short of the half way line.
51: Michael Gordon takes a beautiful catch of the towering bomb at the try line. Uate is struggling in back play after a heavily tackle.
55: Penalty to the Knights, second attempt of tackle from Sam Tagataese. Knights advance up to the half way line.
56: VIDEO REFEREE for the Knights, we have a TRY for Gidley. Obstruction is the question as Sims and Fa'alogo both going through the line.
56: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Kurt Gidley. Kick to come.
Kurt Gidley gets the GREEN LIGHTS as he darted over after Roberts spread across to the right, no obstruction as Sims and Fa'alogo cleared the line without contact
57: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Gidley slots the conversion from beside the right post and we are level
58: Brilliant reaching grab of the kick from Michael Gordon, Sharks working it out from their own try line.
61: Roberts knocked on but no call from the referee. Knights attacking 20 metres out on tackle 3.
62: ZERO TACKLE for the Knights after what seemed a Knights knock on. Newcastle attack just 10 metres out
64: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Kurt Gidley with the conversion attempt swings the kick between the posts to give the Knights the lead for the first time.
70: Penalty to the Sharks, hand in the ruck after the held call and the Sharks kick for touch through Brown and they have a shot at the Knights try line from 20 metres out
71: Back to back penalties for the Sharks, Paul Gallen was close but the markers offside after the tackle. Sharks 2 metres out.
72: VIDEO REFEREE for the Sharks, have NO TRY. Brown has seeming spilled it as he darted into the Knights line. Looking how the ball came free.
72: NO TRY for the Sharks, but it's a scrum to the Knights. Strange call, but Newcastle ball as the ball ruled as a loose carry
73: Jarrod Mullen's kick is rocketed into a Sharks player but ruled not played at. Scrum for the Sharks 20 metres short of the half way line.
75: Penalty to the Sharks, too long in the ruck the call and Paul Gallen takes a quick tap to dart over half way
77: Kurt Gidley forces the line drop out to give the Sharks a repeat set.
78: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Paul Gallen makes an unforced error.
Paul Gallen ruled to have lost the ball in a loose carry as he went to ground in a three man tackle. ZERO TACKLE for the Knights
78: UNFORCED ERROR CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS
Wade Graham makes an unforced error.
Wade Graham looking to shut down the Knights spreading play, knocks it down. Knights with a scrum feed 10 metres from half way
79: Sharks attempt a short kick off but the Knights collect it easily
80: FULL TIME at Remondis Stadium has seen the Newcastle Knights fight back to claim a 31-18 victory after trailing 18-0 early in the first half.