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Newcastle have produced an energetic display to defeat Cronulla 26 points to 4 in front of 15,394 fans at Hunter Stadium.
Following the results around them over the weekend, Newcastle needed a victory to keep in the fight for the top eight. They didn't get a great start with a knock on within the opening minute.
Both teams were cautious in the opening salvos, with ball control the priority. After fifteen minutes the game opened up and the Knights looked more likely to score with Jarrod Mullen controlling the attack.
The try though came from a Mason offload which allowed Darius Boyd to throw a nice hole running pass to Roberts who drew the fullback and sent Jarrod Mullen in for the opening try.
Mullen went from being the recipient to the provider as he sliced through some uncharacteristic soft Sharks defense to send Kevin Naiqama away for the Knights second try, making it 12-0.
Newcastle were threatening to run away with the game, opening the Sharks defense at their will but some knock-ons quelled those leaving the Knights to head into the sheds leading 12-0.
It seemed like things weren't going to click for Cronulla with their kicking game non existent. At the other end, Mullen produced a cross-field kick which bounced enough for Darius Boyd to get a hand on the ball. Following deliberation from the video referee, it was given.
A errant hit from Willie Mason briefly fired up a previously listless Sharks side allowing them to get some field position. They converted their chance with a short side raid putting John Williams in to cut the deficit to 18-4.
It was a brief fightback as Newcastle forced a few errors, a Matthew Wright one leading to Jarrod Mullen poking through the line again to send Akuila Uate in for his customary try and a win for the Novocastrians.
Newcastle finished in style with a hit jagging the ball free and a simple catch and pass sent Kevin Naiqama in for a try which will benefit the for and against for Newcastle in the fight for the top eight.
The fight is back on next weekend, Cronulla will host South Sydney who are coming off a rare loss to the Sea Eagles whilst Newcastle travel to Brookvale to face the aforementioned Sea Eagles.
Newcastle Knights 26 defeated Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 4
National Rugby League - Round 23 - Monday August 13, 2012 7:00pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Gavin Morris
Video Referee: Rod Lawrence
Touch Judges: Adam Reid and Grant Atkins
Halftime: Newcastle Knights 12 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 0
Newcastle Knights (26)
Tries: Jarrod Mullen, Darius Boyd, Akuila Uate, Kevin Naiqama, Dane Gagai
Field Goals: Jarrod Mullen (0/1)
Conversions: Tyrone Roberts (3/5)
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (4)
Tries: John Williams
Conversions: Todd Carney (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary A big one for both sides, the Sharks can consolidate a top eight spot and put themselves in with a top four chance tonight with a win, while the Knights can get the jump on several top eight rivals fighting for a finals berth should they triumph. The Knights have been in good form in the last month, losing only to a red-hot Canterbury side at home last weekend.
CHANGES are in for both sides - we've got the Knights omitting Joel Edwards, who played VB NSW Cup over the weekend. Alex McKinnon starts, with Zane Tetevano retaining a spot on the bench. Cronulla lose Tyson Frizell and Anthony Tupou, with Jayson Bukuya to start. Bryce Gibbs and Wade Graham are the new faces on the bench.
In the Toyota Cup curtainraiser, Newcastle broke their losing streak in a 44-24 win over Cronulla.
Here come Cronulla onto Hunter Stadium to a chorus of boos followed shortly by Newcastle a thunderous applause.
Cronulla will kick off through Todd Carney.. with Newcastle running left to right. Here we go!
1 min: Heavy contact early from Paul Gallen forces the ball loose from Neville Costigan.
2 min: Knights stinging from the early error, force one themselves on Jason Bukuya.
4 min: An incisive run from Darius Boyd on fourth tackle got Newcastle into Sharks territory allowing Mullen to put a bomb up high and force Wright to knock on.
4 min: Followed shortly by a penalty for laying in the ruck. Newcastle will tap it 10 metres out.
5 min: The pass is too hard from Mullen to Roberts and the latter knocks it on.
6 min: Both sides aren't concerned with ball security early. Paul Gallen tried to force a pass and drops it.
13 min: The game has settled into a grind here.. both teams looking to complete their sets.
14 min: Knights try to play expansive football but knocked on by Buderus.
15 min: Things have opened up in the last few minutes. Todd Carney was looking for a hole and offloaded to Wright but the fullback couldn't hold the ball.
17 min: TRY
Knights attack came from a Mason offload which went to Boyd who throw a lovely ball to Roberts into the hole where he waited and waited for Mullen to come in support and stroll in for the try. Roberts from in front, converts.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
19 min: Solid contact forces it from Ben Ross but lucky for him, Newcastle were inside the ten, thus penalty.
24 min: The defense from Newcastle has been quite good thus far forcing Cronulla into some errors. Latest being a knock on on last tackle.
26 min: Silly error from Carney to be caught with the ball on last.
28 min: TRY
Jarrod Mullen spots a hole in the defense and slices through drawing in the fullback before sending Gagai away for the TRY! Roberts from in front again, converts.
Newcastle Knights 12-0
29 min: All the running is with Newcastle currently, they shift it to the left again to Naiqama but he spills it.
31 min: Carney puts it high on last and pins Newcastle deep but it's all for nought as it's a penalty for holding Uate out of the play.
33 min: Chris Houston is almost through but is tackled. Gagai tries to position Uate for a try but the pass isn't good and Uate is taken over the sideline.
35 min: Sharks have no rhythm currently. They try the inside ball ala Melbourne but the play breaks down. Knock on.
36 min: A good ending to a scrappy set from the Knights. Uate seems to have knocked on but ref says play on, Houston kicks and forces a dropout.
37 min: Dropout but hang on.. seems Uate has dropped it. Relief for the Sharks.
38 min: Knights let the bomb bounce until Naiqama takes it and loses it.. no stripped by Leutele. Penalty.
40 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Off a failed crossfield kick from Carney. Newcastle work it up for Mullen to take a shot, it doesn't go the distance. HALFTIME.
Newcastle Knights 12-0
We're back for the second half! Newcastle kick us off for a huge forty minutes!
44 min: Sharks kicking game has been quite poor this half, all bombs and gone straight to the player.
VIDEO REFEREE: Last tackle and it's kicked crossfield for Boyd to possibly have scored?
47 min: TRY
It's GIVEN! Benefit of the Doubt! It was hard to see whetehr he got it completely down but enough for the referee to press he green button. It was a crossfield kick from the Knights which bounced and Boyd was on hand to score! Roberts makes it three from three tonight.
Newcastle Knights 18-0
51 min: Great pressure on last from Newcastle but it resulted in six again.. Tahu touching it.
51 min: Sharks can't do anything, this says a lot about how terrible the Warriors were last week. Sharks have been stifled all night.
52 min: Wille Mason is a wrecking ball tonight.. brushing away defenders, he tries to offload to Gagai but it's knocked on. For the Sharks, Wade Graham is leaving the field clutching his sternum.
54 min: Sharks aren't at the races tonight.. They regathered it on last tackle but it's knocked on. Jeremy Smith is being called out for a elbow.
54 min: The boys come together but there will be no penalty to the dismay of the fans at Hunter Stadium.
55 min: Knock on Knights. There is a bit of feeling in the game now, after the Smith hit. Mason is being called out after a hit on Jeff Robson. He's been put on report and it's a penalty.
58 min: TRY
Sharks have come alive! Gallen goes for a charging run and is tackled close. Next they go the short side and Williams is in! Carney from the sideline, fades too much and is waved away.
Newcastle Knights 18-4
64 min: The try has given Cronulla energy. They earnt a penalty with Morris going crossfield and forcing a knock on which is touched by an offside player. Penalty.
64 min: Jeremy Smith is trying to fight in the tackle, forgetting to look after he ball.. knocked on.
65 min: Cronulla are throwing it around like a team trailing by fourteen and spill it. They get a lucky reprieve though with a Newcastle error.
67 min: Newcastle needed that penalty, Sharks offside.
69 min: Some good work there by the Sharks, repelling Newcastle who were charging the line and Jeff Robson to gather the kick plus get the penalty.
70 min: Knock on by Matthew Wright.. it's just not clicked tonight for the Sharkies.
72 min: TRY
That will kill off the game. Jarrod Mullen has on a different planet tonight.. he pokes his nose through the line again and only has the fullback to beat, opts to throw it to Uate to scores. Roberts with his toughest kick of the night.. misses after it hits the upright.
Newcastle Knights 22-4
VIDEO REFEREE: Kevin Naiqama might have finished the game in style for the Knights.
80 min: TRY
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! It was solid contact from the Knights which forced it out from Stapleton. It was simple from then on, as Kevin Naiqama strolled in for he TRY. Roberts misses his second for the night. FULLTIME.
Newcastle Knights 26-4