Newcastle Knights 12 v St George Illawarra Dragons 38
at EnergyAustralia Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer
The Saint George Illawarra Dragons proved their 2006 NRL campaign is back on track following a comprehensive 38-12 victory over the Knights in front of 23,256 wet fans in Newcastle.
The match mirrored the encounter between the two teams earlier in the year, where it was close early on before one team took control. Earlier in the year it was the Knights who took over the game. Tonight it was the Dragons.
After a very amusing early try to re-signed centre Mark Gasnier ? a play involving three kicks (including one by a front rower in Luke Bailey) the Dragons had a slim 4-0 lead. Nine minutes later Corey Payne crashed over near the posts for a 10-0 lead. The very next set had a Dragons break which led to a Ben Hornby try and a 16-0 lead. It became 20-0 only a few minutes later after Gasnier set up Payne for his second try in the corner. Just before half time Andrew Johns, who had a particularly forgettable game scored and converted for the teams to go to the sheds at 20-6.
The rout continued 11 minutes into the second half with Dragons forward Danny Wicks crashing over to make it 26-6. A partial charge down just after the hour mark led to another Dragons try and a 26 point lead. This was followed up five minutes later by one of the most unusual video referee decisions seen in rugby league. Trent Barrett toed the ball ahead, it took a bounce off Ben Hornby and came to rest on the try line, and Hornby put his hand on the ball to claim a try. The try was awarded despite Hornby appearing to be miles offside, and despite the terrorist threats from Phil Gould to jump out of the commentary box if the try was awarded. The Knights scored a consolation try to Kurt Gidley with five minutes to go to make the final score 38-12.
The Knights have looked out of touch ever since the thrilling 18-16 loss to the Cowboys in Newcastle several weeks ago, while the Dragons are looking better each week. The only injury worry out of the match seem to be the ongoing problem with Danny Buderus.
Newcastle Knights: 12
Tries: Kurt Gidley, Andrew Johns
Goals: Andrew Johns 2/2
St George Illawarra Dragons: 38
Tries: Trent Barrett, Mark Gasnier, Ben Hornby(2), Corey Payne(2), Danny Wicks
Goals: Aaron Gorrell 4/5, Ben Hornby 1/1, Mark Gasnier 0/1
By the Clock:
Tonight is the Knights vs Dragons. Normally a close rivalry, the Dragons were smashed 54-6 by the Knights at WIN Stadium.
1 min: And we are underway in Newcastle!
4 min: Gasnier gets into space, he gets wrapped up and throws a flick pass to Best that rolls forward.
13 min: The game is to-ing and fro-ing from up and down the park. Not much in the way of opportunites lately.
14 min: Carney and Buderus aren't in great shape at the moment.
17 min: VIDEO REF - for a bizarre possible Dragons try.
17 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
An unusual try to say the least. One cross field kick gets batted down to Luke Bailey, he puts up an awful cross kick back to the other side of the field, then Dean Young puts up a kick that is initally collected successfully by the Knights, only to have the ball come loose and Gasnier just gets his hand onto the loose ball. He misses the conversion.
21 min: A few errors coming into the game.
25 min: Johns makes an error 20 out from their own line, giving the Dragons a good attacking opportunity.
26 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Following the Knights mistake, Creagh goes really close under the posts. The next play has Payne crashing over to the right of the posts. Hornby takes over the kicking duties and lands the goal.
28 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Back to back tries for the Dragons following a break down the left hand side. Millard passes to Young who gets into space, and he sets up Ben Hornby to score. Gorrell takes over the kicking duties now and he makes it 16-0.
32 min: Gidley makes an mistake at the back that leads to a drop out for the Dragons. One way traffic at the moment.
33 min: VIDEO REFEREE - for a Dragons try in the corner.
33 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
A dreadful drop out from Johns goes to Gasnier who steps, shifts and throws a great pass to Payne who scores in the corner. Gorrell hits the uprights.
36 min: Plenty of easy metres for the Dragons - this match mirrors the clash earlier this year at WIN. Close early before one team takes control.
37 min: Gidley gets into space, he kicks centre field and Best hoofs the ball dead from outside the in goal.
38 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Johns runs onto the ball, he powers through several tacklers to score. He converts his own try to keep the match alive.
40 min: The Dragons look to make something happen just before half time, but can't keep the ball alive.
Half time in an interesting game. As mentioned earlier. Very tight early before the Dragons ran in several quick tries to go up 20-0. Johns responded just before half time to keep the Knights in it at 20-6.
Dragons have a 54/46 advantage in possession. Both teams have pretty good completion rates - Knights 14/18 and the Dragons 17/20. The Knights have made 168 tackles and missed 21, while the Dragons are 135/13. The Dragons have outgained the Knights by 745 metres to 615. 6 Knights errors to 4 Dragons errors.
41 min: Second half underway.
45 min: Rain starts falling at the stadium. Steve Chiddy has damaged his calf as touchie. One Mr Tony Des La Heras had taken up one side of the park.
49 min: Newcastle really not looking like scoring another 14 points. They look really disjointed on attack.
50 min: An error by Gidley at the back this time leads to a scrum 10 out for the Dragons.
51 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
The Dragons re-establish their 20 point lead. Barrett finds Wicks who has already beaten his defender and he dots down to the right of the posts. Gorrell converts.
56 min: Knights very pedestrian in attack. Very little urgency shown.
60 min: VIDEO REFREE for a Dragons try.
60 min: NO TRY - Dragons
Best is ruled to have knocked on during a play that involved several kicks.
62 min: CROWD - 23,256
63 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
A Barrett kick is partially charged, Bickerstaff ends up in space and he passes the ball inside to Barrett who scores beside the uprights. Gorrell converts.
68 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a certain Dragons no try. Hornby about 30 metres offside when the Barrett kick was put through.
69 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons
Knock me over with a feather! Hornby appeared to be six miles offside but he ended up standing over the ball and just touched it down. I've never seen a decision like it! Gorrell converts.
72 min: Phil Gould is backing out of his "I'll jump out of the commentary box if they award this try" call.
75 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Gidley goes in to score a consolation try for the Knights. Johns converts.
FULL TIME: And the Dragons run away with a 26 point win over the Knights in the rain of Newcastle.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Mark Gasnier (Dragons)
2 - Trent Barrett (Dragons)
1 - Daryl Millard (Dragons)
Dragons touch up Knights in the rain