Knights nuke struggling Sharks

It's been an afternoon of lacklustre football at EnergyAustralia Stadium today, the Newcastle Knights overcoming a struggling Cronulla Sharks outfit 21-10 in an error-riddled contest with 12,909 in attendance.

Newcastle started poorly, dropping four balls in the opening six minutes to turn possession over far too often. Cronulla made them pay after seven minutes, Ben Pomeroy getting a Benefit of the Doubt call to cross the line and put the visitors ahead 6-0 early.

It would be the last time Cronulla saw the lead, with Ben Rogers and Matt Hilder both crossing to put the Knights in front before the break.

The Knights wasted no time extending their lead in the second half, a Junior Sau try sending the Knights ten points clear. Further opportunities denied, the Knights settled for a penalty goal in the 62nd minute, and another in the 71st minute to take a 20-6 lead. The match seemingly out of reach, the Sharks backed themselves with some sparkling footy, and Luke Covell finished with a try on 73 minutes. A missed conversion meant a ten-point buffer and their creative spark wasn't seen again as the Knights defused their two remaining attempts on the Newcastle line.

Jarrod Mullen provided some icing in the final moments, a field goal inside the last thirty seconds floating the margin to 11. It will be a tough trip for the Newcastle side next week as they have Sunday football in Canberra, while Cronulla host arch-rivals Manly at Toyota Stadium on Saturday as they play for the annual Steve Rogers Cup.

Match Details
Newcastle Knights 21 defeated Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 10
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 18 - Sunday July 11, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: David Abood and Adam Reid
Crowd: 12909
Halftime: Newcastle Knights 12 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Kurt Gidley (2 Conversions, 2 Penalty Goals)
2 Points - Adam MacDougall
1 Point - Tim Smith

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (21)
Tries: Matt Hilder, Junior Sau, Ben Rogers
Field Goals: Jarrod Mullen (1/1)
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Kurt Gidley (2/2)

CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (10)
Tries: Luke Covell, Ben Pomeroy
Conversions: Luke Covell (1/2)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to an overcast EnergyAustralia Stadium for today's do or die clash for Newcastle, their opponent is the Cronulla Sharks who won the Toyota Cup in a thriller 14 points to 12.
One change for Newcastle with Matt Hilder starting and Isaac De Gois going to the bench. Cronulla have a few changes, Luke Covell makes his return from the controversial Lars procedure on the wing in place of Isaac Gordon and Grant Millington had an incident at training and is replaced by Taulima Tautai.
Cronulla kick us off today
8 min: TRY
Cronulla have first points today through Pomeroy. Covell kicks the goal.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
13 min: Ben rogers could have a try here, just checking obstruction.
14 min: TRY
Ben Rogers steps past a few defenders to score. Gidley converts easily.
6 all
19 min: Trent Barett fluffs one and kicks out on the full.
24 min: TRY
Adam Macdougall and Taufua combine to send Matt Hilder over. Gidley converts.
Newcastle Knights 12-6
28 min: Possible try to Ben Rogers is denied for an obstruction.
37 min: Both teams are having trouble with the ball, dropping it cold often.
40 min: Cronulla get a penalty on the break but they fail to do anything and that's halftime.
Apologies for the technical difficulties, we'll be back with you shortly.
42 min: TRY
Newcastle have made good in the pressure they have had with Sau motoring over.
Newcastle Knights 16-6
55 min: The video referee has been called on twice in the second half but it's no result for the Knights as yet. Score remains 16-6.
62 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Penalty goal attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Gidley adds two from a penalty near the posts to extend Newcastle's lead to 12.
Newcastle Knights 18-6
64 min: The kickoff after the penalty goal goes dead through Ben Cross putting his foot dead and Newcastle will get a penalty on halfway.
66 min: VIDEO REFEREE Possible Knights try. A Mullen grubber through could have been grounded here. Looks unlikely.
67 min: It's NO TRY, the decision is between a Sharks drop-out or 20m restart... it's in the Sharks' favour.
68 min: Cronulla in all sorts on the last, forced to get it back to Kade Snowden who's made what is likely his first general play kick down the park, sending the ball dead. Knights 20m restart.
69 min: Dumb play from a desperate Cronulla, Covell fielding a bomb in-goal easily but Pomeroy has taken out Adam MacDougall chasing through. Pomeroy didn't need to do it and it'll result in a Knights penalty goal attempt.
71 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Penalty goal attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Kurt eats up the clock with the attempt, taking two minutes before piloting the ball between the sticks. The Knights lead extends further and that puts the result beyond doubt.
Newcastle Knights 20-6
73 min: TRY
TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Scored by Luke Covell. Conversion attempt by Luke Covell unsuccessful.
The Sharks play hot potato on the last about 20m out and eventually they catch the Knights short on the left, Luke Covell crossing in the corner. His conversion hits the post and bounces away, the Sharks trail by ten with seven minutes on the clock.
Newcastle Knights 20-10
76 min: Cronulla's next desperate attacking raid fails with less than five on the clock. Would take a miracle for the Sharkies now.
78 min: We go wide on the last with Cronulla, they're on the attack, ohhhh no - Gardner's decided to run it and that's the sixth tackle, handover. Frustration for Sharks fans increases - a penalty for a strip inside the last two minutes. Newcastle will survive.
80 min: FIELD GOAL
FIELD GOAL Newcastle Knights
Field goal attempt by Jarrod Mullen successful.
Just for fun, Jarrod Mullen pots a one-pointer inside the final 30 seconds. That will be all she wrote, Newcastle victorious 21-10.
Newcastle Knights 21-10

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