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In front of an almost full house in Newcastle, the Knights have brought the Gold Coast Titans 6 game victory run to an abrupt end, defeating the visitors by a narrow 13-12.
The Knights showed from the outset of the match that they had done their homework on the Titans, shutting down key plays with some outstanding defence.
The return of Jarrod Mullen to the Knights side brought in two top line attacking players with Gidley moving back into the fullback role.
Both sides settled into the game well with the fist scoring not until the 20th minute when Wes Naiqama crossed the line out wide following a kick out to his winger by Mullen. Just before the break once again Mullen involved himself in anything and everything, combining well with Gidley to score himself on his return from injury.
The Knights went into the break with a 12-0.
The Titans hit back in the second half, and hit back hard. Wave upon wave of intense attacking was thrown at the Knights by the Gold Coast side with the outstanding scrambling defence saving any scores time and time again.
After 4 consecutive sets the Titans finally broke thru the wall in the 62nd minute when Scotty Prince in desperation, reached for the line.
Mullen in his cool calm way, slotted a field goal 7 minutes later to make the scoreline difference, 7 points.
A try to Minnichiello 3 minutes later made for an entertaining finish to an intense match, with Newcastle deservedly holding out to win the match by 13-12.
Round 8 - Full Time :: May 3rd, 2008 5:30pm Venue: Energy Australia Stadium Referee: Gavin Badger
Leagueunlimited.com Live Commentary
Buderus is not playing tonight for the Knights, with Hilder moving into the hooking role. Gidley back in the fullback role with the return of halfback Mullen from injury. The 3 players backing up from last nights City vs Country match from the Titans, all rearing to go. Laffranchi, Delaney and Minichiello.
1 min: Gidley kicks off in the first match of Round 8.
5 min: Solid start by the home side threatening the Titans defence in every set so far in the match.
10 min: Constructive plays by both sides, so far neither side breaking thru.
10 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Knights
11 min: A mistake by Bailey in the Knights attacking set, resulting in a scrum for the Titans.
14 min: A high kick by the Knights is well caught by Campbell, smothered by attackers. The little fulla scrapes and scrambles thru the defence finally stopped 40 metres away.
18 min: Still no score in the match as both teams do their best to break thru some solid defence.
22 min: The Knights back up the try with a 40/20 by Mullen.
24 min: Mullen's kick on the 5th tackle a little too deep and Ben Jeffrey in the end, has an easy catch in goal.
27 min: The Knights opening up the Titans defence, with Vuna and Gidley finding gaps. Only the scrambling defence from the Titans saves another try.
33 min: Both sides managing to break thru the line at times, but the back up defence proving very strong
36 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Mullen having a great game. Gidley from dummy half set up the plays, Mullen ducking and weaving gets across the line. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. Newcastle Knights 12-0
39 min: Sideshow Bob saves another huge kick by Mullen destined to be a 40/20.
40 min: A break by Campbell close to the Knights line ends up with play down on the Titans line. Video ref rules knock on Delaney as both he and Vuna go for the ball.
HALFTIME: The home side looking good tonight, the return of Mullen adding to their attacking options. Knights lead 12-0.
41 min: Second half underway as the Titans try to get themselves back into the match.
46 min: Both sides getting the chances so far in this half although the Knights seem a bit more settled in their attack.
50 min: A penalty close to the Titans line, for the Titans.
50 min: NO TRY TITANS - Prince draws the defenders allowing Cooper to dive thru the gap on the inside. Held up on the 2nd tackle.
51 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Titans.
52 min: Peterson taken over the sideline just before the Titans line by some desperation defence, in what looked to be a certain try to the Titans.
56 min: Huge kick by Prince following a penalty, allowing the Titans attack 20 metres out from their line.
58 min: A mistake by the Knights at the scrum 20 metres out from the Titans line, allows the visitors another attacking chance in this half.
59 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Titans.
61 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Titans. Gidley knocks on in goal. The Knights defence awesome
66 min: Mullen, with his 1st bad kick of the match, kicks a long ball out on the full.
69 min: FIELD GOAL Newcastle Knights 15 metres out, and Mullen makes it a 7 point difference in the scoreline. Newcastle Knights 13-6
71 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Titans, again
72 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans The Titans set the game up for a great finish as he goes across the defence and cuts an inside pass to Minichiello who scores. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. Newcastle Knights 13-12
75 min: Gidley nabs a high kick from Prince 10 metres out, and saves a certain try as he was the only Knights defender close to the charging Titans attackers.
79 min: Penalty to the Knights late in the tackle count will nullify any more Titans attack, barring a mistake.
80 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Knights. But the hooter wins the race.
FULLTIME: Hard fought victory for the Knights, especially in the second half, as the Titans threw everything at them. But their defence won the game 13-12.