Knights silence critics

The Newcastle Knights silenced their critics with an inspiring 36-20 win over the New Zealand Warriors.

Early on it looked like the doubters were going to be right. The Warriors started off on fire and jumped out to a 10-2 lead.

Newcastle worked their way back into the match with a Rudder try and Abraham penalty goal tying the scores. The Warriors grabbed the lead back before halftime with a try to Toopi making it 14-10.

If anyone thought the Knights were dead and buried at halftime they were quickly proven wrong as Gidley took control of the match in Andrew Johns fashion. For forty minutes straight the youngster proved he has the attributes to be the perfect replacement at halfback for Newcastle.

The Knights poured on 26 unanswered points with the Warriors defence at times looking amateur. Only Meli stopped the onslaught when he went over from dummy half right on fulltime.

This win brings the Knights level with the Warriors on the points table and takes them one step closer to a finals spot. It also signals that they are very much in the premiership race with Gidley now having his chance to stamp his mark on the competition in the coming months.

Leagueunlimited?s Player of the Year Awards: 3 ? K Gidley (Knights) 2 ? J Perry (Knights) 1 ? L Hohaia (Warriors)

Friday 15 August 2003 7:30 PM EnergyAustralia Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Video Referee: Graeme West

Scorers: KNIGHTS 36 Tries: 2 MacDougall, 2 Hughes, Rudder, Gidley Goals: Abraham 5/6, Gidley 1/2 WARRIORS 20 Tries: 2 Toopi, Villasanti, Meli Goals: Hohaia 2/4

By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!

6th min: TRY - Warriors. On the 4th tackle Hohaia put a kick into the in-goal. Villasanti who is having a barnstorming start to the game timed his chase perfectly, diving on the ball to score. The video referee was asked to check the grounding and awarded the try. Hohaia converts - Warriors 6-0.

9th min: NEWS - Its a very subdued crowd at Newcastle tonight without their star player in Andrew Johns.

11th min: Penalty Goal - Knights. Ali Lauiti'iti ripped the ball out in a two man tackle right in front of the referee and was penalised. Abraham stepped up and kicked Newcastles first points of the match - Warriors 6-0.

14th min: TRY - Warriors. The Warriors caught Newcastle off guard by taking a quick tap and Toopi scored in the corner. There is a question whether Betham knocked on when taking the tap. Hohaia fails to convert - Warriors 10-2.

21st min: NEWS - The Knights have really been under the hammer for the opening 20 minutes of this match. They are doing nothing to prove wrong the theory that they can't play without Andrew Johns.

25th min: TRY - Knights. After continued pressure Rudder finally scored under the posts for Newcastle. Abraham converts - Warriors 10-8.

27th min: NEWS - Clinton Toopi has been put on report for a late and high tackle on Kurt Gidley. The penalty count is now at 7-3 in Newcastle's favour.

27th min: PENALTY GOAL - With Toopi's high tackle earning Newcastle a penalty they chose to take a shot at goal. Abraham slotted the two points - 10 all.

35th min: NEWS - The game has just settled down now after Newcastle looked to have the Warriors on the ropes.

37th min: TRY - Warriors. Hohaia put in a kick into the in-goal and Meli missed it at first attempt and then Toopi finally dived on it to score. It went to the video referee to see if Meli touched the ball and knocked on but the try was awarded. Hohaia fails to convert - Warriors 14-10.

Halftime: The Warriors lead at the break but Newcastle have clawed their way back into the match in the last 20 minutes of the first half. It'll give them plenty of confidence that they can compete in the second 40. Halftime score - Warriors 14-10.

41st min: The second half is underway!

45th min: NEWS - The Knights recieved the first penalty of the first half and are now leading the count 9-4.

49th min: TRY - Knights. Newcastle went down the short side on the last tackle and Adam MacDougall strolled over from a massive over lap. Abraham fails to convert - 14 all.

55th min: TRY - Knights. John Carlaw knocked on in-goal and MacDougall placed the ball down to score. The video referee wanted to check for a steal but awarded a try. Abraham converts - Knights 20-14.

59th min: NEWS - After several heated discussions with the referee tonight, Ben Kennedy has been warned that he could be sent to the sin bin if he keeps it up.

63rd min: TRY - Knights. Kurt Gidely stepped his way through the Warriors defence and went in under the posts in a great solo effort. Abraham converts - Knights 26-14.

68th min: NEWS - The Warriors are really starting to look tired now as the knights have made them do alot of work in the second half.

71st min: TRY - Knights. Poor defence from the Warriors let Mark Hughes dive over in the corner for a very soft try. Gidley fails to convert - Knights 30-14.

74th min: TRY - Knights. Its getting very embarrassing for the Warriors now. Mark Hughes went through several slack tackles to score his second soft try in several minutes. Gidley converts - Knights 36-14.

79th min: TRY - Warriors. Meli went from dummy half to score a consolation try for the Warriors. Hohaia converts - Knights 36-20.

Fulltime: Its been a magnificent second half from the Knights and Kurt Gidley in particular. The critics have been silenced and Gidley now could be the man that keeps the Knights premiership hopes alive. Final score - Knights 36-20.