The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Fulltime score: Round 18 Newcastle Knights 22 v North Queensland Cowboys 18.
The game appeared to be another routine victory for the visitors to Newcastle today, with the Cowboys posting four first half tries to one despite running into a huge wind. Bowman, Sing, Williams and Brenton Bowen got over the chalk at various stages of the first half with the Cowboys looking sharp and their backline combining well.
Anthony Quinn scored a try in between with the Knights at least getting on the board in what looked to be another demolition job on the injury ravaged club. They hit the sheds at 18-4 down and whatever they put in the water during the break certainly did wonders.
After a tentative opening phase to the second half, Newcastle got on the board in the 59th minute through Jarrod Mullen and never looked back. With Johns and Buderus taking control of the match, the Knights charged back at the Cowboys and put another two tries on the Top 4 side to snatch a remarkable comeback victory that will no doubt go down in the club?s history as one of their gutsiest efforts.
The result puts some big question marks over the Cowboys premiership claims as they failed to capitalise on their position and move into outright 3rd place. They are missing the services of Carl Webb desperately and teams no longer fear them in the engine room.
For the Knights, whilst their semi-final aspirations are long gone they still have a battle with Souths over who takes home the wooden spoon. With the Bunnies springing an upset over Cronulla last night they are still three points above the Knights who are sure to put up a real fight to avoid the dreaded cutlery.
Scorers: NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS Tries: Mullen 2, Quinn, Quigley Goals: Johns 3/4 NTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS Tries: Bowman, Sing, Williams, B.Bowen Goals: Hannay 1/4
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium Referee: Tony Archer Half time: Cowboys 18-4.
And we're live from Newcastle's Marathon Stadium today where conditions are good but a little windy with the battle between the Knights and the Cowboys about to take place.
1 min: It's the Cowboys who get us underway!
3 min: NEWS - The Knights enjoying plenty of early possession.
8 min: NEWS - No score with both teams sorting themselves out in the forwards. The Cowboys are getting an even share of the ball now.
11 min: TRY - Cowboys. Paul Bowman posts the first four-pointer of the game for the visitors with a strong run at the line. Hannay fails to convert. Cowboys 4 Knights 0.
18 min: TRY - Cowboys. Matt Sing scores for the Cowboys as they start to build a lead in this game. Hannay misses again, but he's kicking into a tough wind. Cowboys 8 Knights 0.
23 min: TRY - Knights. Anthony Quinn hits back for Novacastrians as they keep in touch on the board. Johns fails to convert and score remains. Cowboys 8 Knights 4.
26 min: TRY - Cowboys. Ty Williams gets the ball rolling for the visitors again with a try on the other side of the field. Hannay pots the first goal of the day to extend the lead. Cowboys 14 Knights 4.
33 min: TRY - Cowboys. Brenton Bowen scores after coming off the bench, with the Nth Qld backs having a field day so far. Hannay fails again in this stiff breeze. Cowboys 18 Knights 4.
Half time: Despite the Knights trying hard, the Cowboys look to have this one in their keeping. The Cowboys have a slight edge in possession, but that's a product of the Knights mistake rate and lack of completions.
With the breeze at their backs in the second half, the Cowboys could run away with this one.
41 min: And we're back from the break with the Knights restarting play!
44 min: NEWS - No further score to report as yet during the opening exchanges of the second half.
53 min: NEWS - Plenty of errors creeping into this game, with dropped balls and missed tackles featuring heavily.
59 min: TRY - Knights. Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen goes over as they look to peg back the Cowboys lead. Johns converts to narrow the gap. Cowboys 18 Knights 8.
63 min: TRY - Knights. Luke Quigley barges his way over as the Knights stage a remarkable comeback. Johns converts well and it's a two-point game! Cowboys 18 Knights 16.
72 min: TRY - Knights. Newcastle hit the lead with a wonderful try to Jarrod Mullen that required assitance from the video referee. Johns converts and they take a four point lead. Knights 22 Cowboys 18.
Full time: What an amazing comeback by the Knights here who looked dead and buried until midway through the second half! The Knights scored three unanswered tries in the second half to claw their way back in a major boilover which ends a spectacular Round 18 of NRL action.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Johns (Knights) 2 - D Buderus (Knights) 1 - M Sing (Cowboys) -----------------------------------------