Newcastle have prevailed in an 8-6 struggle over Penrith Panthers in front of 15,536 fans at Hunter Stadium tonight.
In a contest that didn't reach many heights, Newcastle were the first side to hold onto the ball following a sloppy opening to the game. From a scrum, James McManus evaded one tackle and found open air on his way to the try-line.
Neither team were able to hold onto the ball but Newcastle were again on the board when Penrith conceded a penalty for interfering in the ruck. Gidley stepped up and made it 8-0.
Penrith had a few opportunities to cross the stripe following their barren patch with a 32nd minute no try to Tim Grant after a driving effort by his team-mates kept them scoreless for another half.
The drought continued well into the second half with Penrith having chances but no penetration. Finally in the 69th minute, they crossed the stripe.
Luke Walsh put up a towering bomb that was spilled by Darius Boyd right into the waiting hands of Sika Manu who has become a try-scoring regular in a struggling side.
Panthers though, lacking troops and ideas weren't able to get a second score to get a victory and Newcastle continued their unbeaten home start to 2013.
There will be a multitude of injury problems for the Panthers though: Wes Naiqama, Travis Robertson, Josh Mansour and Cameron Ciraldo going off injured.
Newcastle Knights 8 Penrith Panthers 6
Venue: Newcastle International Sports Centre
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - James McManus
2 points - Robbie Rochow
1 point - Dean Whare
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (8)
Tries: James McManus
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Kurt Gidley (1/1)
PENRITH PANTHERS (6)
Tries: Sika Manu
Conversions: Luke Walsh (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Knights - Joseph Leilua will start in the centres for the Knights, Alex McKinnon shifts to the bench. Danny Buderus out, Travis Waddell replaces him on the bench
1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 19 Joey Leilua 4. Timana Tahu 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. Kade Snowden 9. Kurt Gidley (c) 10. Willie Mason 11. Robbie Rochow 12. Chris Houston 13. Jeremy Smith
Interchange: 3. Alex McKinnon 16. Adam Cuthbertson 17. David Fa'alogo 18. Travis Waddell
Panthers - Luke Walsh and Matt Robinson IN; Blake Austin, Brad Tighe OUT; Tim Grant, Clint Newton and Adam Docker start. McKendry, Ciraldo bench
1. Dean Whare 2. Josh Mansour 3. Wes Naiqama 12. Lewis Brown 5. David Simmons 6. Tom Humble 19. Luke Walsh 17. Tim Grant 9. Kevin Kingston (C) 10. Nigel Plum 11. Sika Manu 15. Clint Newton 14. Adam Docker
Interchange: 8. Sam McKendry 13. Cameron Ciraldo 16. James Segeyaro 18. Matt Robinson
Well that was slightly easy. From the scrum, one pass to McManus who breaks one tackle and is away! Naiqama gives a valiant chase but can't reel him in. Gidley from in front, splits the posts.
Scored by James McManus. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
Newcastle Knights 8-0
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! After 165 minutes, Penrith have a TRY. Luke Walsh put up a towering bomb that floats enough to force Boyd to drop the ball and Sika Manu is right on cue to plant it down. Walsh slams it over.
Scored by Sika Manu. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh successful.
Newcastle Knights 8-6