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The Newcastle Knights have dismantled an mistake prone and penalty riddled Penrith Panthers 42-8 in very hot conditions at CUA Stadium.
Penrith opened the scoring with an early goal but from that point onwards simply fell to pieces in a performance full of elementary errors.
The home side made over twenty errors and conceced almost every type of penalty in the book - amidst a range of inflringements they were pinned twice for being offside from the kick off, as well as infront of the kicker from a goal line dropout.
The Knights showed their opposition no mercy, they crossed for four first half tries and continued the carnage with three more in the second stanza.
Halfback Jarrod Mullen controlled the game superbly - an accurate kicking game was the highlight in his LeagueUnlimited Match of Match display.
Unfortunately, the big win may have come at a big cost, with Neville Costigan, captain Kurt Gidley and hooker Isaac de Gois all forced from the field at various stages. Costigan's injury appeared to be a broken arm, while Gidley suffered from a back complaint caused by a first half collision. De Gois also suffered an arm injury but the severity remains to be seen.
However, finishing the match with only 14 fit troops didn't stop the Knights from piliing on the punishment.
Newcastle built on a 22-2 halftime advantage when a determined Matt Hilder powered though some lacklustre defence. Mullen then set up debutant halves partner Beau Henry with a nifty grubber in the 63rd minute.
And when Junior Sau surged over for a double, the Knights were in party mode at 42-2. But fullback Lachlan Coote snuck over after the siren to give Penrith their lone try in one of the worst performances by an NRL side in recent memory.
Earlier in the first half, Fijian flyer Akuila Uate crossed for a typically stunning four-pointer after grabbing a chip over the top from Gidley.
The Panthers must now travel to Parramatta Stadium next Friday night. The Knights face a longer trek to Townsville to take on the Cowboys on Saturday at 7:30pm Queensland Time.
Penrith Panthers 8 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 42
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Sunday March 13, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: Centrebet Stadium Penrith
Referee: Ben Cummins and Tony De Las Heras
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Dan Eastwood and Luke Potter
Crowd: To be confirmed
Halftime: Penrith Panthers 2 Newcastle Knights 22
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jarrod Mullen (1 Try)
2 Points - Kurt Gidley (1 Try, 3 Conversions)
1 Point - Junior Sau (2 Tries)
Penrith Panthers (8)
Tries: Lachlan Coote
Conversions: Michael Gordon (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Michael Gordon (1/1)
Newcastle Knights (42)
Tries: Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, Matt Hilder, Junior Sau (2), Akuila Uate, Beau Henry
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (3/4), Wes Naiqama (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Wes Naiqama (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Penrith take on Newcastle this afternoon in ridiculously hot conditions at CUA Stadium. Predicting a close high scoring clash today.
In a big boost for the Panthers' chances, Michael Jennings will play in the centres, with David Simmons left out. That is the only change for Penrith and Newcastle are as per program.
Massive win to the Knights in the Under 20s - 62-16 - eleven tries!
1 min: We're underway! Knights kick off.
2 min: High tackle from Luke Walsh on James McManus and he's on report as well.
3 min: Lachlan Coote swoops on a grubber at the back - looking forward to seeing the fullback back in action in 2011.
5 min: Panthers lock Luke Lewis strides through a gaping hole and goes within inches of scoring - Trent Waterhouse then releases the pressure with an error on the next play..
7 min: Tempers flaring already! Isaac de Gois and Tim Grant let a few punches fly, just a stern warning for both though.
10 min: PENALTY GOAL
Penrith PENALTY GOAL
The Knights get pinged close to their line and Michael Gordon makes no mistake with the kick to give Penrith a 2-zip advantage.
Penrith Panthers 2-0
11 min: Newcastle have conceded three penalties, doing themselves no good at all on a 33 degree day.
13 min: Lachlan Coote declines to take a Mullen bomb on the full but luckily for his team, it bounces over the deadball line.
15 min: Neville Costigan in some trouble for the Knights, he looks a bit of pain - appears to be an arm injury and he's off the field.
15 min: TRY
Jarrod Mullen bombs high on the attack, Coote looks all at sea and fumbles - Mullen dives on the scraps and those are the Knights' first points for 2011. Kurt Gidley fails to convert.
Newcastle Knights 4-2
18 min: Frustration for both teams! Penrith get penalised for being offisde at the kick off but then the Knights don't find touch - don't know whether to laugh or cry.
20 min: Errors galore from both sides, Michael Jennings with a shocking forward pass and that's drinks after 20 minutes.
21 min: Great work from Michael Gordon, who diffuses yet another Newcastle arial raid and manages to stay in the field of play.
24 min: Penrith have done it again! This time the goal line dropout was taken just in front of line - comical error number two.
24 min: TRY
Blockbusting run from Junior Sau, his winger was unmarked on the outside but the centre decided to go himself and had too much strength for some flatfooted Panthers' defence. Kurt Gidley converts.
Newcastle Knights 10-2
28 min: Penrith concede ANOTHER penalty to help the Knights out of their half - Matt Elliott must be tearing his hair out.
30 min: Out of nowhere, Sandor Earl nearly slides through the line but he's dragged down by his coattails.
30 min: TRY
Nice chip kick from Kurt Gidley into no man's land just behind the defence and the Fijian flyer Akuila Uate comes streaming through to grab the ball and score. Smart play from Gidley and perfect execution. Kurt Gidley converts.
Newcastle Knights 16-2
32 min: They've had all the possession the Knights, mainly due to Penrith giving away far too many penalties. And the latest news is that Nev Costigan is in the sheds with his arm in a sling.
35 min: TRY
The Knights are carving them up now! Zeb Taia stands in a tackle and like every good fullback, Kurt Gidley is on the spot to recieve the offload. Kurt Gidley converts.
Newcastle Knights 22-2
36 min: Errors: Penrith - 7 ; Newcastle - 3
39 min: Zeb Taia in the action again, this time he forces an error with a solid low tackle on Masada Iosefa.
Halftime: Penrith have been all over the shop in the first 40 minutes, too many errors and penalties giving away possession. And the Knights have made them pay with four tries. I don't think the home side are out of it though, Newcastle fell away often in the second half in 2010. Hopefully, they've improved their fitness in the off-season..
41 min: Underway in the second half! Big ask for Penrith to come back..
41 min: And the Panthers drop the ball in the first set, ten metres out from their own line..
42 min: PENALTY GOAL
Newcastle PENALTY GOAL
Not surprisingly, Penrith give away a penalty and Wes Naiqama slots the extra two. Not sure why Gidley wasn't given the kick..
Newcastle Knights 24-2
43 min: This game is doing my head in, Newcastle make an error but then Penrith's Matthew Bell returns the favour!
44 min: Interestingly Kurt Gidley has left the field and gone up the tunnel, apparently a lower back problem that was suffered in the first half.
47 min: Errors: Panthers 10 ; Knights 5
50 min: TRY
A determined run sees interchange forward Matt Hilder add his name to an ever increasing try scorers list. Penrith should have wrapped him up but full credit to Hilder. Wes Naiqama converts.
Newcastle Knights 30-2
53 min: Big break from Richard Fa'aoso, who then grubbers ahead and an enthusiastic Knights chase pins Earl in the ingoal.
55 min: Yet another incomplete set from the Panthers, they're yet to finish a set of six this half.
58 min: Penrith get six again on the attack after a Luke Walsh kick was touched in flight, finally they catch a break, can they capitalise?
60 min: Brad Tighe with a shocking play-the-ball, instead of kicking it backwards, he toes it forwards. Someone throw in the white towel..
60 min: Drinks break after 20 minutes - on the weather side of things, there's some heavy rain heading to Penrith.
63 min: Knights mounting some more pressure on the Penrith line..
63 min: TRY
Jarrod Mullen with a well weighted grubber for his halves partner Beau Henry, who dives to score his very first NRL try in his very first NRL fixture. He's quite happy about it too! Wes Naiqama converts.
Newcastle Knights 36-2
65 min: Now Penrith kick out on the full! I think they have made every possible mistake this afternoon. Dreadful.
67 min: TRY
The Knights are in party mode now! Henry feeds it to Junior Sau who is too hard to stop, especially for Penrith in their current state. Wes Naiqama converts.
Newcastle Knights 42-2
69 min: Another penalty from the kick off for Penrith!! In front of the kicker AGAIN!! Deary me, this is a Knightmare for them *boom tish*
71 min: A bit of bad news for Newcastle, Isaac de Gois now up the tunnel clutching his arm. Gidley, Costigan and now de Gois all off the field.
76 min: Matt Hilder drops it but with the clock winding down there's no positives to find for the home side this afternoon.
79 min: The Panthers finally awake from their slumber and Tighe goes close.. but a drop ball ruins the chance.
80 min: TRY
On the very last play after the siren, they put the ball through the hands and fullback Lachlan Coote scores. Michael Gordon converts.
Newcastle Knights 42-8
80 min: Fulltime: A terrible showing from Penrith but the Knights made them pay with some slick footy. All the talk will be about the ordinary-ness of the Panthers, too many errors and they gave away every type of penalty in the book.