Knighted: Raiders returnees run down

A great win from the Knights in the Nation's Capital to defeat the Raiders 22 points to 12. Canberra were firing in the first half, but slowed up in the second. On the back of penalties and a high possession rate, the Knights forced the Raiders out of the game. Canberra fans shouldn't be disappointed with that loss - a better performance than previous games in season 2011.

The Raiders started strong at home, in the 9th minute a poor kick from Sam Williams tapped back by fullback Josh Dugan and collected by 2nd rower Bronson Harrison, who ran the cross angle at the defensive line to beat the Knights and cross the whitewash. Jarrod Croker opened his kicking account with no issue by converting the try.

It was end to end football for much of the game after that try until quick passing in the 24th minute from Josh McCrone to returning fullback Josh Dugan saw the Raiders custodian put a lovely grubber through the line to open a hole in the Knights line. Joel Thompson running outside him to collect the ball and slide over the line. Without any needing of the Video Referee it was awarded and the kick at goal 20 metres in from touch was successful for the Raiders to lead 12 points to nil.

No further points were collected by either side before the break, although the Knights went close many times. So at halftime, the Raiders were by no stretch of the imagine the better side, however the Newcastle Knights weren't terrible by comparison but they had many opportunities to score when they took on the Raiders line. They came close but never crossing the line. It seems the return of Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson back to the wing and the knowledge that captain Alan Tongue on the bench ready to come on the field helped their chances in the first half at home.

The scoreboard didn't reflect the swing of possession, with the Knights having 53% of the ball to the Raiders 47%. The Knights were too far behind the Raiders, but needed to straighten and control themselves.

The Newcastle side went looking for the early points after the break and found them. The golden play came from a poor kick from Josh McCrone which went out on the full which went back to a scrum feed to the Knights inside the 40 metre line. From the scrum looking for the line, the ball was passed wide to the winger James McManus as they drew in the Raiders defence to allow a big hole on the right wing to score their first try in the second half.

Continuing the role the Knights forced errors and with back to back penalties and good field position, 30 metres from the line, this was the Knights best chance at scoring. They took the opportunity with Akuila Uate too strong for the defence, finding the hole to better David Shillington and Shaun Fensom to crash over the line. Out of that, David Shillington placed on report for an attempted trip on Uate. Kurt Gidley not looking like missing that goal, too easy as it is converted the Uate try.

Yet again the Raiders errors costing them field position to allow the Knights back in their half of the field. And as per the script the Knights going wide through a kick from Wes Naqiama which pinballed off the Raiders legs, picked up by Uate to crash over the lacking defence of the Raiders to collect his double of the game. Kurt Gidley, however not on song with this kick to miss his second kick of the season.

Not to go without mention the Raiders were improving in parts of the match with the return of Josh Dugan at the back of the pack this seemed to help their cause through the match with patches of brillance. But on the back of another error from the Raiders, the ball fell with the Knights, tired and slow defence from the Canberra side made easy work for the fullback, Shannon McDonnell to find a hole to run away for a 65 metre try, a great solo effort to seal the win for Newcastle. It was converted by the captain Kurt Gidley to end the match.

So after 80 minutes, the Newcastle Knights came from 12 points down at half time to get back to back wins. Although Raiders have improved with Sam Williams in the side and Josh Dugan back, they will be back to winning form if they can complete more sets without the errors and giving away soft penalties to the opposition. Knights fans be proud of the effort from the Newcastle side as they had opportunities in the first half which should of been capitalised on. The Knights' recorded their third win at Canberra Stadium, while the Raiders' season is in a dire situation as their losing streak is now at six games.

Match Details
Canberra Raiders 12 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 22
National Rugby League - Round 7 - Sunday April 24, 2011 2:00pm
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Gavin Reynolds
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Jason Walsh
Crowd: 11,879
Halftime: Canberra Raiders 12 Newcastle Knights 0

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Akuila Uate (2 Tries)
2 Points - Kurt Gidley (3 Conversions)
1 Point - James McManus (1 Try)

Canberra Raiders (12)
Tries: Joel Thompson, Bronson Harrison
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (2/2)

Newcastle Knights (22)
Tries: James McManus, Akuila Uate (2), Shannon McDonnell
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (3/4)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Three players are out for the Canberra Raiders, winger Recee Robinson, 2nd Rower Joe Picker, and Travis Waddell.

Some positional changes with Josh Dugan returning, moves to fullback (in jersey number 19), Alan Tongue (20) is added to the bench. Blake Ferguson moves to the wing from fullback, Trevor Thurling starts in the 2nd row in place of Joe Picker and Josh Miller will start at Lock with Shaun Fensom going back to the bench.

For the Newcastle Knights they will be 1- 17 as per program.
Referee Matt Cecchin blows time on here at Canberra Stadium for this Round 7 clash between the Canberra Raiders and the Newcastle Knights. The Raiders are heavily backed favourites with Dugan returning to fullback in 20 and captain Alan Tongue off the bench in 19.

At this point the Raiders season is on the line if they don't win today. It's anyone game a strong start is needed. Raiders kick off with Josh Dugan kicking off down to the Knights for their first set of the match.
1 min: Simple set from the Knights as they complete it with a kick from Mullen, making 40 metres from the first set.
2 min: INJURY: David Shillington struggling at the back, he is being assisted with the trainer as he makes his way to the scrum after a controlled set from the Raiders kicking down to the touch.
3 min: First Penalty of the match. Soft give away there, hands in the ruck, David Shillington laying down too long. The Knights have their first real chance at the line. 25 Metres from the Raiders line.
5 min: Interesting set from the Knights, with Gidley on the 4th tackle running sideways and then on the last going to Mullen for a kick high into the in goal area but James McManus going backwards out of the in goal area with Uate going into touch.
6 min: Forward pass from the Knights, Scrum feed for the Raiders on their own 40 metre line.
9 min: TRY
A poor kick from Sam Williams that was tapped back by fullback Josh Dugan and was collected by Harrison, he ran the cross angle at the defensive line to beat the defenders. Croker having no issue with the kick to convert.
Canberra Raiders 6-0
11 min: After the try good attacking set from the Raiders, with Sam Williams kicking down to open space until the Knights returning the kick, player was tackled and Canberra not backing up with a penalty for a strip at the Knights will play it inside the Raiders 40 metre zone.
12 min: Richard Fa'aoso not focusing on where the ball was going, the Raiders collected the offload from Fa'aoso which releasing the attacking pressure.
12 min: James McManus doing well to collect the ball and beat Blake Ferguson.
14 min: Terrific work from Mullen kicking it away before the 40 metre defensive line. Fullback Dugan out of position to collect the bouncing ball. The Knights go on the attack 5 metres from the line.
14 min: Video Referee Decision possible try to Evarn Tuimavave
14 min: NO TRY given for the Knights. Play the ball here. Evarn Tuimavave held out from the line by the Raiders good defence.
15 min: Almost perfect attacking set from the Knights, three chances for the Knights in that set with Evarn Tuimavave, Akuila Uate and Chris Houston all going for the line. Early signs from the Raiders looking good.
17 min: Nice little run from Kurt Gidley on the 4th tackle to fend off two Raiders tacklers to make 10 metres. On the last tackle and Mullen's kick too big to roll into the dead ball zone. Raiders work the ball from their 20 metre line.
17 min: Shannon McDonnell collecting the high ball comfortably from the Raiders. Not the best option to kick down to the fullback. They attack from their own 20.
19 min: Allowing the ball to bounce from the kick, their may of been a strip in all that, the hit up was hard as Vidot was soft into the line to lose the ball in the ruck. Scrum feed for the Knights 10 metres from the Raiders line.
20 min: ZERO tackle for the Knights, as they attack from only 5 metres from the Raiders line.
20 min: Interesting move from the Knights, 2nd tackle Mullen looking for the corner but the bounce of the ball not in favour of the Newcastle side as it went into touch failing to find the awaiting hands of winger McManus. Scrum feed to the Raiders inside their own 10 metres.
22 min: 40/20 attempt failing to find the line from Josh McCrone, bouncing away from the side line, going into the in goal area as chasing was Donnell from the Knights but he was collected in the in goal area from the Raiders chasing line. Goal Line drop out for the Raiders.
24 min: TRY
Quick passing from Josh McCrone to fullback Dugan who put a lovely grubber through the line to open a hole in the Knights line. Joel Thompson running outside him to collect the ball and sliding over the line. Without any needing of the Video Referee it was awarded and the kick at goal 20 metres in from touch and successful to lead 12 points to NIL.
Canberra Raiders 12-0
26 min: In a good structured attacking side from the try, the Raiders making it inside the Knights 40 metres zone. A high kick from Williams finding the arms of Uate who made up 10 of the lost metres in the Raiders set.
29 min: Lovely line break from Uate looking for a try, he was tripped by Dugan and the offloading to Chris Houston and the set ended with a change over. Raiders defence slipping up for the moment to allow that passage of play which should of led to a try.
30 min: Josh Dugan running quickly from the in goal after he collected in on the full and getting the quick tap, the Knights could of been penalty, offside.
32 min: Another good attacking set from the Knights, with Gidley controlling it running sideways. With Uate charging forward into the line.
33 min: Penalty against Uate for being offside, Raiders take this opportunity to get their third try of the match, inside the Knights 20 metre zone.
34 min: 20 Metre restart for the Knights as the ball from the Raiders rolled dead. Uate just watching and hoping it was going to go dead and it did.
34 min: Another penalty for the Knights kicking for touch, they attack inside the Raiders 30 metres.
35 min: Scrum feed for the Raiders, ruled from the touch judge as a Knights forward. questionable.
37 min: End of the set from the Raiders it was collect easily by Tyrone Roberts, The Knights need to score before half time. The Raiders are the better side in the opening 40
38 min: Junior Sau cleaning up the mess from Mullen to get a little kick away, it was collected by Josh Dugan.
39 min: Blake Ferguson making a break down the left sideline. Taking on Knights fullback Donnell he attempted to get around him, fending him off but Donnell not giving in forcing him into touch as Ferguson stepping on the line. Scrum feed to the Knights.
39 min: ZERO tackle for the Raiders.
40 min: Josh Dugan looking for the one point on the siren after a line break from Josh McCrone inside the Knights 40 metre line. A lose ball pick up from Dugan and he took the attempt but missed. HALF TIME.
HALF TIME at Canberra Stadium and the Raiders are by no stretch of the imagine are the better side in the opening 40 minutes. The Newcastle Knights aren't terrible by comparison but they had many opportunities to score when they took on the Raiders line. They came close but never crossing the line.

It seems the return of Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson back to the wing and the knowledge that captain Alan Tongue on the bench ready to come on the field.

The scoreboard doesn't reflect the swing possession, with the Knights having 53% of the ball to the Raiders 47%. The Knights are too far behind the Raiders, but they need to straight and control themselves. But without points they can't win here. Both teams need to work on some errors from the first half, but the first team to score in the second half will go on to win this match.
The sun high in the sky in Canberra, but the Knights looking to bring it down in the second 40. They must open up firing to score the early points. Still anyone's game. The referee says lets go, time back on in the Nation's Capital with the Knights kicking off.
43 min: TRY
They were looking for early points and they have. The play came from a poor kick from Josh McCrone which went out on the full which went back to a scrum feed to the Knights inside the 40 metre line. From the scrum looking for the line. Passing it wide to the winger McManus as they drew in the Raiders defence to allow a big hole on the right wing to score their first try in the second half.
Canberra Raiders 12-6
46 min: Possible injury to Raiders winger Blake Ferguson. Slow at the back of the play.
47 min: Touched by the Raiders, Zero Tackle fo the Knights inside the 40 metre line of the Raiders. Can they back it up with a second in the second half.
48 min: Pushing the offload the Knights, the ball going ground as Mullen was not expecting the ball. Knock on for the Knights, scrum feed on the Raiders 30 line.
49 min: A big round of applause for Raiders captain Alan Tongue as he makes his return to the field for the Raiders 4th interchange.
50 min: End of a good set from Knights, Blake Ferguson jumping up high to beat James McManus to the ball in the air.
50 min: Penalty to the Raiders, against Dan Tolar for slowing the play down, laying on the player.
51 min: From a lovely line break from Josh Dugan getting the inside ball to Harrison in open space passed it again sideways to captain Alan Tongue, not sure where he was, 10 metres from scoring and he lost it forward, knock on. The scrum to pack down with the feed to the Newcastle side.
52 min: Gidley completing another set, but collected easily by Dugan at fullback they will play it outside their own 30 metre line. The Knights could of been given a penalty in that set with the Raiders slow to stand out of the ruck.
54 min: Controlled and structured still the Knights to end another set, with the ball bouncing away from Dugan at the back. It has been end to end football since the Knights opened the scoring in the second half
57 min: Scrum feed to the Knights on their own 10 metre line. As from the scrum base working it wide, the break attempted to be made. Terrible call against the 5/8th, ruled to have been touched, another scrum to the Knights who escape their own half.
58 min: Matt Hilder making a break in that set, but no inside support from his team mates. But the set ended with a terrible kick from Kurt Gidley going dead on the full. 20 metre restart for the Raiders.
59 min: Looking to keep the ball alive, Croker trying to get the ball away although being held down by 3 Knights players. Zero tackle play for the Knights, they need to find the line again.
60 min: Another ZERO Tackle for the Knights 5 metres from the line, after the Raiders making a mess on the last tackle, should of collected the ball. Here is their chance.
60 min: Another ZERO Tackle for the Knights 5 metres from the line, after the Raiders making a mess on the last tackle, should of collected the ball. Here is their chance.
61 min: Desperate play from the captain, Gidley failing in that play, dumbing the ball twice before taking on the line of the Raiders. As he was brought to ground he throwing it back and was collected by Dugan easily.
63 min: Big HIT! From Joel Edwards on Dane Tilse, maybe not a smart idea.
64 min: Penalty against Shaun Fensom, laying in the ruck, should of rolled out of the ruck, easy Knights metres here.
64 min: Another penalty here. Back to Back here. Raiders looking tried. The Knights have to score here. 30 metres from the line.
65 min: TRY
On back to back penalties, 30 metres from the line, this was the Knights best chance at the line. They took the opportunity to score, Akuila Uate too strong for the defence finding the hole to best Shillington and Fensom to crash over the line. Out of that, David Shillington placed on report for an attempted trip on Uate. Kurt Gidley not looking like missing that goal, too easy as it is converted the Uate try.
12 all
68 min: Another mistake, the Knights turning the ball over on halfway. The Raiders back on the attack looking to hit back from the Newcastle try.
68 min: The ball went up high to the corner from the Raiders. Uate leaping high to beat the winger staying composed in all that, showing no fear to take the high ball and run from the line to save the try.
69 min: Dugan getting back to some form in this match. Collect the ball from the kick making a break through the Knights line. But he is now limping back to the line. Calf maybe still making troubles for him.
70 min: Possible high tackle in that set, referee disagrees as Tyrone Roberts showing his strength to take the ball for the Knights.
71 min: Joel Edwards not having the pace to outrun the Raiders defenders. Although they are slowing up with 10 minutes to go. Interesting stats knights with 15 offloads to 5 of the Raiders.
72 min: Akuila Uate showing his strength again. making a great run down the wing. Zero tackle for the Knights after a Raiders mistake. I think I can see a try coming in this set for the Knights.
73 min: TRY
As predicted the Knights going wide through a kick from Wes Naqiama which pinballed off the Raiders legs, picked up by Uate to crash over the lacking defence of the Raiders to collect his double of the game. Kurt Gidley not on song with this kick to miss his second kick of the season.
Newcastle Knights 16-12
74 min: Lovely short kick off from the Raiders, the Knights failing to collect the ball from the kick, as the Croker kick bouncing just outside the 40 metre line and rolling into touch for a Raiders scrum feed.
76 min: Knock on, the ball from Vidot not wrapped up and was collected by Chris Houston
78 min: TRY
On the back of an error from the Raiders. The fell with the Knights, tried and slow defence from the Canberra side made easy work for the fullback finding a hole to run away for a 65 metre try, a great solo effort to seal the win for the Newcastle side.
Newcastle Knights 22-12
80 min: That's all she wrote. A great win from the Knights in the Nation's Capital to defeat the Raiders 22 points to 12. Raiders were firing in the first half, but slowed up in the second. On the back of penalties and high possession rate of the Knights forced the Raiders out of the game. The Raiders fans shouldn't be disappointed with that lose a better performance then previous games in season 2011.

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