Exciting Knights put Canberra to the sword

A double to flying winger Kevin Naiqama led the Newcastle Knights to a 36-6 win over fellow top-8 hopefuls the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium today.

For the second time in a fortnight Raiders fans were headed for the gates early, their troops never able to recover from an 8 minute blitz either side of halftime that saw the Knights jump to a 24-0 lead.

The Knights nearly opened the scoring after just four minutes, as the visitors marched upfield and their right edge combined to put Akuila Uate over the line. The efforts of Jarrod Croker narrowly saved the day, the centre forcing a flying Uate to ground the ball on the touch line. In their next set the Knights came knocking again, as the Raiders' ill-discipline gifted them field position early in the piece. Alex McKinnon's brilliant cutout pass found Naiqama, and he did what Uate could not minutes earlier to ground the ball before going into touch. Tyrone Roberts kicked the first of his touchline conversion attempts, to give the Knights an early 6-0 lead.

That margin was preserved for much of the first half, both sides denied by a lack of execution and scrambling defensive efforts. It wasn't until five minutes before the break when a real chance was seen, Uate collecting a Sam Williams grubber from his own in-goal before leaving green jerseys littered behind him on a 60-metre run. He found Naiqama in support, and the winger was narrowly denied his second try, wrapped up just short of the line. With Canberra defence struggling to recover Sandor Earl was binned for a professional foul, and the 12-man Raiders hung on grimly as the visitors attacked the line. The Knights converted the advantage in the next set however, Tyrone Roberts fooling the defence with a dummy and outpacing the covering Raiders to score in the corner. He converted his own try, and the score was 12-0 at the break.

Two minutes into the second half and it looked as though Earl's binning had opened the floodgates. McKinnon again found Naiqama with a long cut-out, and the flying winger did well to sprint in from 40m out. Roberts missed his first of the afternoon but the Knights weren't finished there, as Uate got in on the action with a short side run. After beating two he produced a flick offload to Darius Boyd, who crossed in the corner for his first try in Newcastle colours. Roberts converted this time to give Newcastle a near unassailable 22-0 lead.

The Raiders needed four converted tries just to draw level when Joe Picker was placed on report in the 56th minute for a head-slam tackle on Jarrod Mullen, and Roberts stretched the lead by a further two with the penalty. Though initially dazed it didn't look to have had too much impact on Mullen, who spotted an overlap to the right five minutes later and put Uate over for a try of his own. Roberts knocked over his fourth touchline conversion to give the Knights a 30-0 lead.

Canberra had struggled to put it together throughout the game, but it all clicked just moments later when Blake Ferguson crossed. After throwing the ball around to the left Sandor Earl's wobbly crossfield kick just cleared Knights defenders, Ferguson on the spot to touch down and give Raiders fans something to cheer for.

Ferguson's try seemed to spark the Raiders, who embarked on some enterprising play in a search for more points. Josh McCrone's well-weighted chip found Josh Dugan on the run, and his kick ahead forced a goal-line dropout against the Knights. They again went close in the subsequent set, with both Joe Picker and Dane Tilse using their big frames to barge over the line only to be denied by scrambling defence. Dugan broke the Knights line from a kick-return, but it was a sign of the afternoon they had experienced when he was stripped by Uate in cover defence, and the Raiders again knocked on after Newcastle had gifted them back possession with an error of their own.

The Knights built pressure on the Raiders' line in the last ten minutes, and were rewarded when Robbie Rochow showed good footwork to cross next to the posts with six minutes remaining. His easiest attempt of the afternoon was no worries for Roberts, and despite a late push for more points from the visitors the game finished 36-6.

Match Details
Canberra Raiders 6 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 36
National Rugby League - Round 21 - Sunday July 29, 2012 2:00pm
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Gavin Morris
Video Referee: Bernard Sutton
Touch Judges: Nick Beashel and Gavin Reynolds
Crowd: 10,260
Halftime: Canberra Raiders 0 Newcastle Knights 12

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Kevin Naiqama (2 Tries)
2 Points - Tyrone Roberts (1 Try, 5 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
1 Point - Alex McKinnon

Tries: Blake Ferguson
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (1/1)

Tries: Darius Boyd, Akuila Uate, Kevin Naiqama (2), Tyrone Roberts, Robbie Rochow
Conversions: Tyrone Roberts (5/6)
Penalty Goals: Tyrone Roberts (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Canberra Stadium, where the Canberra Raiders take on the Newcastle Knights. Both teams are on 20 competition points and just one win outside the top 8, though both have unfavourable differentials to overcome. They will be equally desperate for a win to keep their finals hopes alive.

In team news this week, Dane Tilse returns from a rib injury and joins the Raiders bench at the expense of Sam Mataora. For the Knights Wayne Bennett has made one positional change, with Alex McKinnon starting at lock and Neville Costigan moving to the bench.
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1 min: Dugan gets us underway and Tetevano takes the first run.
3 min: Penalty Newcastle! Canberra are penalised for a play the ball infringement, Newcastle in good field position early.
4 min: Possible try to Newcastle! Aku Uate took Mullen's cross-field kick and rounded his winger. Video ref looking at whether he's gone into touch.
4 min: No try! Great strength by Jarrod Croker denies Uate by a matter of millimetres! The tip of the ball is grounded on the in-goal line, and we'll head to the 20 for the restart.
4 min: Penalty Canberra! The green machine will start their set on the attack 40m out.
5 min: Knock on Canberra! Ferguson puts down the pass 10 out. Double knock on and we'll pack a scrum.
6 min: Penalty Newcastle! Canberra again letting Newcastle out of trouble with poor discipline.
6 min: Another possible try! Alex McKinnon throws a brilliant cut-out pass to Kevin Naiqama. Video ref again checking whether he's gone into touch.
6 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights! Twice Canberra had Newcastle coming off their own line, twice they conceded the penalty and twice the video ref had a job to do. This time Naiqama stays in the field of play for a sharp try. Tyrone Roberts' conversion is good from out wide.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
10 min: Willie Mason combines with Edwards for a break. Roberts gives it to McKinnon and he's stopped just short.
10 min: Penalty Newcastle! Raiders defenders didn't make it back onside in time. Newcastle on the attack from 10 out.
11 min: Danny Buderus with a miss-thrown pass, and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs jumps on the ball. Raiders survive.
13 min: Canberra will have the scrum 25m out from their own line. Mullen put it into touch off a Raider, but the kick was ruled not played at.
14 min: Mason's offload had Newcastle well on the front foot, but Blake Ferguson jumped on a wayward pass and now Canberra pile on the pressure.
15 min: Josh Dugan fumbled the ball and had to kick at it, it sails over the dead-ball line and Newcastle survive their first real test.
17 min: Josh Dugan takes the bomb, but is quickly bundled into touch by three Knights defenders. Knights will attack off the scrum from 10 out.
18 min: Sandor Earl cleaned up the grubber, and the Raiders survive.
22 min: Knock on Newcastle! Jarrod Mullen puts down the pass that came around his ankles. The Raiders have the feed right on halfway.
22 min: Sam Williams' grubber ricochets off some Knights defenders, but it's not played at and the Knights will start their set from 15 out from their own line.
24 min: Sam Williams' crossfield kick hits the upright, but Raiders running through couldn't regather it. Knights will again work it our from their own end.
24 min: Sam Williams' crossfield kick hits the upright, but Raiders running through couldn't regather it. Knights will again work it our from their own end.
26 min: Dane Tilse offloads and Josh Dugan finds half a gap, but he's pulled down from behind. The fifth tackle kick finds touch and the Knights will take the ball off the scrum 10 out from their own line.
27 min: Houston takes Mullen's short ball to go straight through!
28 min: Josh Dugan saves a try, intercepting Houston's attempted offload. He's picked up a knock here though.
28 min: Raiders fans can breathe easy, looks like Dugan is fine.
29 min: Knock on Canberra! Josh Papalii loses it in the play the ball, and the referee ignores his strip pleas
29 min: Strong runs from Uate and Cuthbertson had the Knights attacking the line. Naiqama chipped over the top but Blake Ferguson cleaned up to save a try.
32 min: Chris Houston is down injured - looks like he may have copped an accidental high shot as he was falling.
34 min: Sam Williams dribbled the ball into the in-goal, but Uate picks it up and goes for a huge run. Naiqama pulled down a metre short of the line!
35 min: Sin Bin Raiders! Sandor Earl will go for 10 for a professional foul - never making it onside.
35 min: Knock on Newcastle! Cuthbertson loses it forward into a Raider, and the 12-man Canberra hold on for now!
37 min: Tyrone Roberts dummied, ran and went straight through! It'll be a try to Newcastle!
38 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights! Tyrone Roberts sold the dummy to his outside and went through on his own 40m line, outpacing the Raiders defence coming across to score in the corner. The conversion of his own try is successful.
Newcastle Knights 12-0
40 min: Mark Nicholls cleans up after the Knights were again pressing through Timana Tahu. That marks halftime, with the home side down by 12.
Earlier today it was the Canberra Raiders with an early victory, their U20s side prevailing 36-28 over the Knights. Centre Matthew Allwood scored two tries, Anthony Milford took his tally to 9 in 7 games and winger Jeremy Hawkins scored one and broke the line four times in a man of the match performance. For the Knights, Korbin Sims bagged a double on top of his usually dominant performance.
40 min: Sandor Earl still has about 5 minutes left in the bin. Can the Knights capitalise again the early stages of the second half?
41 min: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs limping off after an early run. Not looking good.
42 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights! Alex McKinnon again finds Kevin Naiqama off a long ball, and the flying Fijian (mk II) outpaces the defence down the wing to score. Newcastle have well and truly taken advantage of their advantage in troops. Tyrone Roberts' conversion is to the left of the posts.
Newcastle Knights 16-0
45 min: Penalty Canberra! The Knights are sprung for shooting up too early, and now the penalty kick for touch doesn't find the line! Knights back on the attack 35m out.
46 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights! Akuila Uate goes for a short side run on the last, and produces a superb flick offload for Darius Boyd to score his first try in the red and blue! Tyrone Roberts' fourth touchline conversion is curled back brilliantly.
Newcastle Knights 22-0
48 min: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs looks to have injured his hamstring. Won't be back today.
49 min: Penalty Canberra! Sandor Earl is back on the field, and was stripped after fielding the Newcastle kick. Two in the tackle, and the Raiders receive the penalty to get out of trouble.
51 min: 40/20 kick for Newcastle! Jarrod Mullen kicks from 35m out, and the ball goes into touch 10 out from the Raiders' line despite the efforts of Josh Dugan. Knights on the attack.
53 min: Knock on Canberra! Sandor Earl intercepted a long ball, but his offload was fumbled by Blake Ferguson. Knights still on the attack.
54 min: Houston pulled down centimetres from the line. Mullen's cross-field kick is cleaned up by Sandor Earl.
55 min: Sam Williams runs the ball on the last, and the Knights will start their set 30m out from their own line.
56 min: Jarrod Mullen's head collides with the ground hard in a Joe Picker slam tackle. He's down injured.
56 min: Picker's tackle is on report. Tyrone Roberts will shoot for goal from 30m out, in front.
Tyrone Roberts slots the goal.
Newcastle Knights 24-0
57 min: A free interchange was available to the Knights, but Mullen has remained on the field.
58 min: Penalty Canberra! The Raiders are helped upfield after the Knights markers are penalised.
60 min: Dane Gagai strips Sandor Earl one on one! Knights on the attack 10m out from the line.
62 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights! Jarrod Mullen spots an overlap on the right, and finds Uate in plenty of space. Roberts knocks over his fouth conversion from out wide.
Newcastle Knights 30-0
64 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders! The Raiders hit straight back and are finally on the board! The Raiders threw it around on the left, and Sandor Earl's cross-field kick found Blake Ferguson unmarked. Jarrod Croker slots the conversion from the right of the posts.
Newcastle Knights 30-6
67 min: Josh McCrone chips over the top for Josh Dugan from 30m out, who again puts boot to ball. The kick is cleaned up by Uate in the in-goal. Raiders back on the attack from the drop-out.
69 min: Joe Picker offloads on the last and desperate defence holds up Dane Tilse. Knights working it out from their line.
70 min: Josh Dugan makes a break down the left from the kick return, and Uate saves the day with a strip.
71 min: Knock on Newcastle! Taia puts it down as both sides scramble to get organised.
71 min: Knock on Canberra! The Raiders attempt to spread it to the right but put it down as well.
72 min: Newcastle force the goal line drop-out with a grubber, and will attack from 35m out.
73 min: Knock on Canberra! Sam Williams attempted the intercept on a pass meant for Robbie Rochow. The Knights will feed the scrum 10m out from the Raiders' line.
74 min: TRY
TRY Newcastle Knights! Robbie Rochow scores his first try in the NRL! He took on a retreating Raiders line, showing good footwork to cross next to the posts, and it looks like he's suffered a dislocated finger along the way. Tyrone Roberts slots his easiest attempt for the afternoon.
Newcastle Knights 36-6
79 min: Sandor Earl allows the ball to bounce into touch, as Raiders fans leave in droves.
80 min: Newcastle pushing for one last effort to help their differential. A good run from Uate finishes off the game, the Knights securing an upset victory, 36-6.

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