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The Newcastle Knights have easily accounted for the West Tigers 34-6 at Energy Australia Stadium tonight.
The sometimes fiery match saw no less than four players being placed on report including Andrew Johns following a head-slamming charge against Tigers' centre Mark O'Halloran in the 36th minute. O'Halloran took no further part in the match.
Earlier, Wests Tigers centre, Terry Hill was placed on report for a dangerous throw and may also have a case to answer. Hill was involved in the another controversy when he accused Knights forward Josh Perry of eye gouging. Referee Sean Hampstead noted the official complaint to be looked at later by the match review committee.
Late in the match, Tigers winger Robbie Beckett found himself on report for allegedly going in late and high on Knights fullback Robbie O'Davis who was forced from the field with a smashed nose.
The Knights raced away to an early lead with tries to Josh Perry and Matt Gidley and after 12 minutes, it was 12-nil.
Another try to Craig Hall saw the Knights go further ahead and at half time it was 16-0
It only took six minutes of the second half for the Knight to blow the Tigers off the park following two tries to Sean Rudder.
In the 63rd minute, Rudder got his hat trick and at 34-nil, it was looking like a carve-up.
The match however descended into an error-ridden affair as both sides searched for cheap tries. West Tigers finally getting on the board with a try to John Wilson.
Knights 34 Tries: Rudder 3, Perry, Gidley, Hall Goals: Johns 5/6 Tigers 6 Tries: Wilson Goals: Covell 1/1
Saturday 26 April 2003 Energy Australia Stadium Referee: Sean Hampstead
League Unlimited Player of the year points: 3 - S Rudder (Knights) 2 - J Perry (Knights) 1 - D Buderus (Knights)
By the clock: Great atmosphere in Newcastle tonight. Kickoff!
3 min: TRY - Knights. Josh Perry on the burst races 10m to score next to the sticks. Knights getting almost all the ball early on. Conversion Andrew Johns. Knights 6-0
12 min: TRY - Knights. Matt Gidley scores near the uprights following a movement which began near the halfway line. A number of players backing up to score and this could be a long night for the Tigers. Conversion Johns. Knights 12-0
24 min: NEWS - Terry Hill (Tigers) placed on report for dangerous throw and may have a case to answer.
32 min: NEWS - Terry Hill lashes out and then makes an official complaint against Josh Perry for an alleged eye gouge. Hill full of expletives and not a happy bloke.
36 min: NEWS - Andrew Johns has been placed on report for a head slam on Tigers centre Mark O'Halloran, who was forced from the field. Johns may have a case to answer.
39 min: TRY - Knights. Winger Craig Hall scores out wide following a overlap. A young Craig Hall showing too much pace for Terry Hill. Conversion Johns unsuccessful. Knights 16-0
HALF TIME: Knights and Tigers making a number of errors with the Tigers especially struggling to complete their sets. Some fiery encounters and some questionable play with the referee placing players from both sides on report. Knights 16-0
SECOND HALF: The referee will his work cut out to keep these sides apart in the second half. Expect some fireworks.
43 min: TRY - Knights. Sean Rudder cleans up a Johns in-goal grubber kick after the Tigers were unable to secure the ball. Conversion Johns. Knights 22-0
46 min: TRY - Knights. Rudders gets a double in as many minutes following a high bomb from Johns who picked out Tigers winger, Luke Covell. Ball is spilled and Rudder is on hand to race unopposed to the tryline. Conversion Johns. Knights 28-0
62 min: TRY - Knights. Rudder gets a hat-trick. Good team try set up on halfway by Luke Quigley who found Robbie O'Davis in support down the left flank. Rudder on the inside to take the final pass with very little cover defence to speak of. Conversion Johns. Knights 34-0
68 min: TRY - Tigers. John Wilson gets Wests Tigers on the board. A soft try 15m from the goal posts. Conversion Covell successful. Knights 38-6
78 min: NEWS - Robbie Beckett (Tigers) on report for allegedly going in late and high on O'Davis who was forced from the field with a smashed nose.
FULL TIME: A messy final 10 minutes with the Newcastle Knights having subdued visitors soon after half time. The full time siren ending 80 minutes of torture for the Tigers.