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The Newcastle Knights kept their slim semi final hopes alive with a tough 31-22 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a surprisingly good game at Aussie Stadium today.
Despite the win, not everything went the Knights way as the Rabbitohs went into the sheds at halftime with a 16-12 lead with halves Joe Williams and Owen Craigie playing a starring role.
But instructions from Knights coach Michael Hagan at halftime to target Joe Williams in both attack and defence paid dividends as the Knights outscored the Rabbitohs three tries to one to get within 2 points of the top eight and with five rounds remaining in the regular season.
For the Knights all the forwards played well and as a result halves Kurt Gidley and Steve Witt were given more room to move. For the Rabbitohs today's performance will give their fans tremendous hope for season 2005 as it was only in the final 15 minutes of the match that Knights managed to have their measure.
Aussie Stadium Referee: Tony Archer Video Referee: Phil Cooley Touch Judges: Glen Jackson, David Abood
Scorers: RABBITOHS 22 Tries: Hookey 2, Marteene, Minichiello Goals: Williams 3/4 defeated by KNIGHTS 31 Tries: Buderus, Witt, Woolnough, Hall, M.Kennedy Goals: K.Gidley 5/6, K.Gidley FG
By the clock: 0 min: Kick Off
5 min: Try-Knights: Hooker Danny Buderus opens the Knights account with a try. Kurt Gidley is successful with the conversion attempt. Knights 6-0.
6 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Centre Lee Hookey scores to open the Rabbitohs account. Joe William is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt. Knights 6-4.
16 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Centre Lee Hookey scores his second try of the afternoon to put the Rabbitohs in the lead. Joe Williams is successful with the conversion. Rabbitohs 10-6.
21 min: Stat Attack: Completions: Rabbitohs 5/7, Knights 5/6 Missed Tackles: Rabbitohs 0, Knights 5
23 min: Try-Knights: 5/8th Steve Witt scores for the Knights to level the scores. Kurt Gidley is successful with the conversion to put the Knights in the lead. Knights 12-10.
31 min: Stat Attack: Possession: Rabbitohs 51%, Knights 49%
33 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Winger Shane Marteene scores to put the Rabbitohs back in the lead. Joe Williams is successful with the conversion. Rabbitohs 16-12.
Halftime Report: In a fast paced and action packed 1st half the game is still anyone's for the taking with the both sides playing good football. One statistic that will be worrying for Knights fans would be the missed tackles as they have missed 6 compared to the Rabbitohs who haven't missed one. Stat Attack: Top Tackler: M Kennedy (Knights) Most Hit Ups: D Thompson (Rabbitohs) Most Line Breaks: O Craigie (Rabbitohs) Most Offloads: M Gidley (Knights) Possession: Rabbitohs 54%, Knights 46% Penalty Count: Rabbitohs 4-2 Handling Errors: 4 all
44 min: News: The Rabbitohs miss their first tackle of the match.
48 min: Try-Knights: Interchange forward Adam Woolnough scores to level the scores for the Knights. Kurt Gidley is successful with the conversion. Knights 18-16.
52 min: Stat Attack: Completions: Rabbitohs 18/22, Knights 18/24 Missed Tackles: Rabbitohs 5, Knights 6
52 min: Try-Knights: Knights winger Craig Hall scores to give the Knights a 6 point buffer. Kurt Gidley is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt. Knights 22-16.
57 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Interchange player Mark Minichiello scores to bring the Rabbitohs to within 2 points. Joe Williams is successful with the conversion to level the scores. 22 all.
61 min: Stat Attack: Possession: Rabbitohs 53%, Knights 47%
66 min: Try-Knights: After a number of looks by the video referee prop forward Matt Kennedy is awarded a try after pouncing onto a Steve Witt kick. Kurt Gidley is successful with the conversion attempt. Knights 28-22.
71 min: Field Goal-Knights: Kurt Gidley kicks a field goal from close out to give the Knights a 7 point buffer. Knights 29-22.
77 min: Stat Attack: Possession: Rabbitohs 50%, Knights 50%
80 min: Goal-Knights: Kurt Gidley is successful with an attempt at penalty goal. Knights 31-22.
Fulltime Report: Despite a spirited performance by the Rabbitohs the Knights were just too good today. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Kennedy (Knights) 2 - A Woolnough (Knights) 1 - J Perry (Knights) -----------------------------------------