The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Knights have done it tough to beat the Bulldogs 12-6 with brilliant defence.
The Bulldogs dominated the early proceedings being able to keep pressure on the Knights outfit. However it was the Knights that put on the first try. Robbie O?Davis encountered some poor defence out wide which helped him find his way over the try line.
The Bulldogs were able to strike back through a try by Talau. Tahu raced up leaving the Bulldogs centre unmarked for an easy journey to the try line. El Masri converted the try in sensational fashion from the sideline to put the Bulldogs up 6-4.
The lead was short-lived however as Johns worked some of his magic with an amazing ball to Tahu to dot down in the corner. The touch judge wasn?t convinced with Tahu being in the field of play but the video referee disagreed awarding a try to the Knights to give them a 10-6 lead into halftime.
The second half was to eventuate into a stalemate of two awesome defences combined with poor handling from both sides. The only real talking point for the half was Andrew Johns? penalty goal. In what can only be described as a moment of blindness from the touch judge, Nigel Vagana was penalised for holding back a Newcastle player. The replay clearly showed there was no holding back, merely a collision.
At the end of the day the Knights defence was the winner. Despite many of the players looking out on their feet for most of the second half they held tight. So the weekend of footy is opened up with yet another example of tough uncompromising football, lets hope there?s plenty more of it to follow.
Leagueunlimited's Player of the Year points: 3 Andrew Johns 2 Ben Kennedy 1 Josh Perry
Scorers: Knights Tries: O'Davis, Tahu Goals: Johns 2/3 Bulldogs Tries: Talau Goals: El Masri 1/1
By the clock: 0 min: NEWS - Kickoff
10th min: NEWS - Still no addition to the score. The Bulldogs are on top in the early stages being able to sustain pressure on the Knights.
20th min: TRY - Knights. Robbie O'Davis goes through soft defense out wide to get scoring underway for this match. Johns conversion attempt is unsuccessful - Knights 4-0
23rd min: NEWS - Matt Parsons is pulled to the back of play for the second time to clean up a large gash on the top of his head.
34th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Tahu rushes up leaving Willie Talau free to run over in the corner. El Masri brings it around beatifully from the sideline. Bulldogs 6-4
38th min: TRY - Knights. Knights put in good field position through a Willie Mason mistake. On the last tackle the Knights run it and Andrew Johns throws an amazing ball to see Tahu dive over in the corner which was eventually ruled a try by the video referee. Andrew Johns follows up his great pass with an even better conversion - Knights 10-6
HALF-TIME: A very tough half of football. Both teams have arrived at the ground ready to play. The Bulldogs controlled the early proceedings but the Knights have managed to level it out and go into the break with a four point lead.
40th min: NEWS - Second half kicks off.
50th min: NEWS - No addition to the score yet for the second half. The Newcastle Knights have come out strong and have come close to the line a couple of times.
58th min: NEWS - Low penalty count tonight at 3-1 to the Bulldogs. Interchange will be important with tiring players. Currently the Bulldogs have made 6 changes and the Knights 7 changes. Also amazingly Andrew Johns leads the tackle count for the Knights.
60th min: PENALTY GOAL - Touch judge pulls up a pathetic penalty on Vagana for holding back a player. Johns kick is successful - Knights 12-6
70th min: NEWS - The match heads into the last ten minutes now. Theres already some very tired players out there and the possibilty of extra time could test their limits.
77th min: NEWS - Tense moments now as the Bulldogs trying to level the scores with time ticking down on the clock.
FULL-TIME: Well what a tough match. The Knights have gutsed it out with simply brilliant defence. Final score - Knights 12-6