Knights win big but questions still remain
over their title hopes

The Newcastle Knights have given the North Queensland Cowboys a 60-24 hiding this evening but don?t let the scoreline fool you, the Knights have major problems in defence.

At one stage the Knights led 60-6 and Knights coach Michael Hagan promptly replaced star halfback Andrew Johns then things fell apart for the Knights. They have a poor for and against and it was imperative they racked up a big score without letting the Cowboys do the same but that did not happen. When interviewed after the game Andrew Johns was livid that the Knights had again clocked off once hitting the lead.

The Cowboys to put it bluntly were awful in the first half but managed some respectability in the second stanza with some very soft tries at the expense of the Knights. The only real highlight of the evening was that every shot at goal from both kickers was successful.

Next week the Cowboys travel to Canberra and will do it tough to beat the Raiders at home while the Knights host the Warriors and if they lose this one, they may well miss the finals for the first time in years.

Even though the scoreline suggests otherwise, the Knights simply aren?t playing good enough to win the competition let alone make the top eight. The Cowboys made the Knights look much better than they are tonight but in the end they are still alive in the race for the finals. player of the year points:

3 ? A Johns (Knights) 2 ? M Hughes (Knights) 1 ? A Macdougall (Knights)

Scorers: COWBOYS Tries: Muckert, Bowen, Williams, Rauhihi Goals: Hannay 4/4 KNIGHTS Tries: Kennedy x 2, Perry, M Gidley x 2, K Gidley, Macdougall x 3, Johns. Goals: Johns 10/10

By the clock: 1st min: KICK OFF. The match is underway!

2nd min: TRY - Knights. Ben Kennedy gets a rare try after Steve Simpson split the Cowboys defence and drew the fullback to send Kennedy in under the posts untouched. Conversion successful. Knights 6-0.

8th min: TRY - Knights. Josh Perry barges over from close to the line. A very soft try and the Cowboys are playing some awful footy in the opening stages of this match. Conversion successful. Knights 12-0.

13th min: TRY - Knights. The carve up continues as the Cowboys have completed just 3/7 sets of six. Matt Gidley crossed out wide and the Knights are doing it very easily at the moment. Conversion successful. Knights 18-0.

17th min: TRY - Knights. Kurt Gidley scores another very soft try for the Knights who are doing wonders for their for and against. Conversion successful. Knights 24-0.

27th min: TRY - Knights. Adam Macdougall scores another very soft try for Newcastle. In one of the worst plays of the year, Josh Hannay kicked ahead on the first tackle and then gave away a penalty. Three plays later the Knights score thier fifth try of the night. Conversion successful. Knights 30-0.

32nd min: TRY - Knights. Andrew Johns gets in on the action with another soft try from close range. I am getting writers cramp so can someone from the Cowboys please make a tackle and give me a break! Conversion successful. Knights 36-0.

37th min: TRY - Knights. Obviously no one heard my last request about someone making a tackle. Matt Gidley literally walked across the line and referee Steve Lyons picked up the ball ready to go home. Conversion successful. Knights 42-0.

40th min: TRY - Knights. Sing makes a meal of a Knights kick and fails to hear the thundering hooves of Adam Macdougall charging up from behind and Macdougall knocks Sing out of the way to pick the ball up and score. Of course Johns converts and I have had enough. Knights 48-0 at the break.

42nd min: TRY - Knights. Exact replica of the first half. Kennedy scored in the second minute of the first half and now scores in the second minute of the second half. Half time was a timely relief for me more so than the Cowboys. Conversion successful. Knights 54-0.

54th min: TRY - Cowboys. Chris Muckert gives the dejected locals something to cheer about. Same as the previous match between the Roosters and Sharks, the Knights replace their star player (Johns) and the Cowboys score. The Knights look safe at this stage though. Conversion successful. Knights 54-6.

56th min: TRY - Knights. The reprieve was short lived as the Knights through Macdougall extend their lead back out to a comfortable 54 points. Conversion successful. Knights 60-6.

68th min: TRY - Cowboys. A comeback perhaps? Anyway, Matt Bowen scores out wide after video ref Eddie Ward pulled a rabbit from his hat and said TRY! Conversion successful. Knights 60-12.

71st min: TRY - Cowboys. Ty Williams scores after Newcastle failed to show any urgency after the bomb hit the deck. Conversion successful. Knights 60-18. The problem is the Knights have a poor points differential and are now letting the Cowboys score some soft tries. Johns has been replaced and the Knights go to sleep.

77th min: TRY - Cowboys. Rauhihi gets his first for the year as the Knights for and against starts to take a battering. Conversion successful. Knights 60-24.

FULL TIME: The Knights have won the match but some big questions still remain over their defence which again has let in over 20 points which is really unacceptable considering they led the match 60-6 at one stage.