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Fulltime: Round 1
Newcastle Knights 25 def. Parramatta Eels 6
The Newcastle Knights have run out convincing 25-6 winners over an underdone and ill-disciplined Parramatta Eels team at Energy Australia Stadium this afternoon.
The first half was very close with the Knights holding a slender two point lead at the break but the second half was all Newcastle, with Andrew Johns coming into his own after taking some heavy hits in the early stages of the first half.
With Johns leading the way, Milton Thaiday, Danny Buderus and Brian Carney all having mighty games in attack with all three giving the Eels defence headaches for the entire eighty minutes.
The Eels have a lot of work to do with fifteen errors in the game and last years rookie Tim Smith having a game easily forgotten.
With the coaches of tonight?s game trading places next year, it would be a bitter sweet feeling for both coaches knowing one got the victory but the loser has a lot to work with and vice versa.
With such an impressive performance first up, the Knights look keen to offload the dreaded wooden spoon by posting a great first up victory.
Round 1 - FULL TIME
Energy Australia Stadium
Referee: Russell Smith
Newcastle Knights: 25
Tries: Matthew Gidley, Adam Woolnough, Milton Thaiday, Brian Carney, Riley Brown
Goals: Kurt Gidley 1/3, Andrew Johns 1/2
Field Goals: Andrew Johns
Parramatta Eels: 6
Tries: Micheal Vella
Goals: Luke Burt 1/1
We are underway in Newcastle in front of a full house.
2 min: NEWS Possible try to the Knights with Milton Thaiday proving to be more than a handful in the opening minutes.
2 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Video ref awards the try to Milton Thaiday after he split the Eels defence on the previous tackle. Newcastle looking good early.
5 min: NEWS Penalty to the Eels after Perry and Craig Smith refused to release the tacked player.
12 min: NEWS Andrew Johns is being worked over by the Eels with two big hits on the Knights captain in the first ten minutes.
17 min: NEWS Craig Smith penalised for a high shot.
21 min: NEWS Eels starting to apply the pressure with a repeat set of six. Errors are creeping into the games ofboth teams due to the heat.
23 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
Michael Vella crashes over under the posts after sustained pressure within the Knights half. The Knights used up a lot of juice in the last five minutes.
33 min: NEWS Milton Thaiday takes a great spiral bomb to take the pressure off the Knights.
35 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Brian Carney scores in the corner five minutes out from half time and the Irishman crosses in the corner to take the lead once again
40 min: NEWS Newcaslte go to the break with a slender two point lead and the match is very wide open.
45 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Newcastle extend their lead through some excellent support play from the Knights with Riley Brown scoring under the posts.
50 min: NEWS Newcastle controlling things nicely with the Eels self destructing inside the Knights red zone but poor ball handling has cost them any chance at closing the gap.
54 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Matt Gidley scores in the corner to extend the Knights lead and make the road back for the Eels a very long one.
60 min: NEWS The Eels not doing much to get back into the game as enter the final quarter of the match.
61 min: FIELD GOAL Newcastle Knights
Andrew Johns puts the result almost beyond doubt with a field goal with less than twenty minutes left on the clock.
71 min: NEWS The Knights doing it comfortably at the moment with the Eels looking very pedestrian in both attack and defence. They look to be suffering a hangover from the 2005 semi final loss to the Cowboys.
72 min: NEWS 26,198 crowd attendance.
72 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Adam Woolnough rubs salt into the wound for the Eels to put the result well and truly beyond doubt.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Andrew Johns (Knights)
2 - Milton Thaiday (Knights)
1 - Danny Buderus (Knights)