Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
44 hours ago
The Newcastle Knights travelled to the south coast on Saturday night as they took on the St George Illawarra Dragons. The Knights were looking to bounce back from their 48-18 shellacking by the Tigers last week, where they trailed 38-0 at halftime.
Returning to the Knights side were halfback Jarrod Mullen and centre David Seage, who were both in First Grade last week, while the Dragons welcomed back halfback Matthew Head from injury.
Both sides started promisingly before the Knights scored the first points of the match courtesy of Brad Tighe as he crossed out wide to give the Knights an early 4-0 advantage. Dragons five-eight Chris Sheppard, formerly from the Cowboys scored his sides first try of the night in the 14th minute and Head's conversion put the Dragons in front 6-4. As the half wore on, it looked like going down to the wire. Both sides tested each other out for the next twenty minutes but it all came to no points. In the 33rd minute the Dragons extended their lead to 10-4 through winger Tom Hewitt and the Dragons appeared destined to go to the break leading 10-4. With just 60 seconds remaining, Mullen launched a towering bomb which was allowed to bounce by the Dragons fullback and winger and Brad Tighe was only too willing to oblige and score the Knights second try on the stroke of halftime. After the conversion, both sides went to the break at 10-10.
The second half was much the same as the first, with both sides completing their sets of six and getting to their kicks. In the 48th minute the Knights went back in front when Kade Snowden delivered a perfect around-the-corner pass as he was falling to put Nathan Hinton in under the posts. Tighe converted and the Knights appeared to be looking good at 16-10. Unfortunately the Knights were to remain on 16 as Matthew Head took control of the match. He scored an individual try in the 58th minute to level the scores before firing two perfect cut-out passes to Brett Morris in the 65th minute to extend his sides lead to 8, before putting the final nail in the coffin with a repeat of the dose, this time putting Beau Ryan over with 11 minutes remaining. This gave the final scoreline of Dragons 30 Knights 16 and left the Knights languishing towards the bottom of the table.