FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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8th placed Wests travelled to EnergyAustralia Stadium to take on the 6th placed Knights in their round 13 encounter. The Knights had come off a controversial 24-22 loss to the table-topping Dragons. The Magpies in comparison were coming off a 32-24 win over the 7th placed Souths Juniors.
Newcastle started the match very well and showed glimpses of the form which saw them leading the competition earlier in the year. First try to the Knights was scored in the 5th minute of the match by centre James McManus, who scored two tries in the Knights last premier League outing as well. Wests appeared to be struggling to contain Knights duo - halfback Luke Walsh and five-eight Scott Dureau. Halfback Brendan Waters for the Magpies was trying to spark his side, but all to no avail early on as the Knights went to the break leading 20-12.
The teams returned for the second half and appeared as two vastly different football sides. The Magpies, led by halfback Waters, piled on two tries in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The match had turned. The Magpies, after trailing 20-12 now led 24-20. What then ensued was an arm wrestle, until Knights five-eight Dureau, swooped on a Wests pass, plucking it out of the air and then racing 50 metres to score under the posts. The conversion by Dureau put the Knights back in front 26-24. 3 minutes later Dureau piloted a penalty goal to put the Knights in front by 4.
With just three minutes remaining and Wests pressing the Knights line, a Magpies knock-on appeared to have happened. A Wests player dived on the ball and put it on the try line. Despite Newcastle players pleading for a knock-on to be awarded, referee Adam Neale, after consulting with his touch judge awarded the try. The conversion by halfback Waters made the final score of Magpies 30 defeated the Knights 28.
Wests halfback Brendan Waters was arguably the best player on the field, having a hand in the majority of Wests tries. He was also very impressive in general play and kicked 5 goals from as many attempts.
Photo - Knights captain and 5/8 Scott Dureau.