The St George Illawarra Dragons have kept their finals hopes alive with a gutsy 20-4 victory over a gallant Knights side in Newcastle tonight.
After the match, Dragons coach branded his team's performance as "dumb" after St George Illawarra dominated proceedings during the first half.
Brown pointed to the inability of his charges to take advantage of an injury to Adam MacDougall, the Knights utility being forced off with a season-ending dislocated shoulder before the break. With young Knights forward Cory Paterson defending in the centres, the Dragons were presented with the opportunity to pile on some points.
"We were just dumb," said Brown.
"A perfect example. Cory Paterson is a front-row slash back-row marking an Australian centre [Matt Cooper] and we give him the ball once in the second half and he made a break."
Despite their early dominance, the Dragons were only able to score two tries and post a 10-0 lead at the half time break, largely due to some gutsy goal-line defence from the Knights.
Newcastle were first to score in the second half through fullback Kurt Gidley, but that would be the only time the home side would trouble the score board.
The Knights kept themselves in range for most of the second half before the Dragons broke through in the latter stages, a try to centre Chase Stanley in the 71st minute followed by a runaway try to rookie winger Tom Hewitt soon after finally putting the Knights away.
The 11th-placed Dragons now find themselves on 18 competition points and four points outside the top eight. The Knights are also on 18 points but are carrying a for-and-against which sees them in 14th position.
Match Details Round 21 - Full Time :: August 3rd, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: Energy Australia Stadium Crowd: 12,573 Referee: Jared Maxwell Half time: Dragons 10-0
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary A must win game for both teams tonight. Cold conditions. For the Knights, a few players out forwards Woolnough and Reynoldson with Cory Paterson coming into the side. For the Dragons, Gasnier will be playing at five eighth and Rangi Chase is on the bench. Winger Nightingale is out and replaced by Hewitt. Hooker Tony Caine is out. Kick off soon...
5 min: Five minutes in and fairly even possession-wise. The Dragons having a little more of the ball following a Knights error.
10 min: Still 0-0. Dragons with over 55% possession and their forwards are making some yards early in the game. Dragons prop Jason Ryles has a dislocated finger but that'll be fixed and he will continue.
15 min: Knights struggling to complete their sets. Still 0-0.
18 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Halfback Jamie Soward kicks ahead and scores in the corner after a Kurt Gidley kick goes into a Dragons player (Woolford). Follows a repeat set. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 4-0
20 min: Dragons getting more repeats sets and more possession. Knights defend well and finally get the ball back, only to lose possession.
35 min: Saints enjoying 65% possession. The Knights putting up a spirited defensive display close to their line but are error-prone and missing tackles when fighting for field position... a good effort to be only 10 points down.
Half time: Dragons 10-0 Saints have had twice as many sets and over 60% possession. The Knights are battling to complete their sets and have had to put in big defensive effort on their line. They have had to work hard still have all the work to do.
Injury news from the sheds Adam MacDougall (Knights) shoulder injury (dislocated) and unlikely to return.
Second half underway...
47 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Kury Gidley scores in the corner. The corner post and double movement being looked at, but the video ref sent it back to a 'Ref's call' and the try is awarded. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 10-4
55 min: Knights getting a little more of the ball now and completing their sets.
60 min: Still 10-4 to the Dragons. Possession starting to even up as the Knights lift.
61 min: NO TRY - Knights denied. Cooper Vuna tackled into touch by Josh Morris.
70 min: A great game of footy here as both sides lift. Ryles is working up a storm for the Dragons with Soward and Rangi Chase calling the shots close to the ruck. The Knights forwards showing plenty of courage as well but they are behind on the scoreboard. We're in the final 10 minutes now and this match is up for grabs.
71 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Chase Stanley scores what could be the match winner for the visitors. On the end of a handy movement with Ben Hornby stepping around George Carmont before delivering the final pass to an unmarked Stanley. Conversion attempt out wide from Jamie Soward is successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 16-4
74 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Winger Tom Hewitt gets hold of a Gidley grubber and runs over 90m to score, putting the match beyond doubt. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward hits the upright and is unsuccessful. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-4
Full time: Dragons have defeated the Knights 20-4