Newcastle break their losing streak with spirited win over North Queensland

Newcastle have snapped their losing streak, defeating an error filled North Queensland side, 36-28 in front of 11,925 fans at Hunter Stadium tonight.

Both teams were circling the drain, for season 2014. They were several games outside the top eight with the games played reducing every week, Newcastle had to win and so did, the weary travelers North Queensland.

On a night that was near-must win for the Knights, it got off to an auspious start. Darius Boyd who has been figure of ridicule for most home fans spilled a gentle bomb from Johnathan Thurston, allowing Antonion Winterstein to wrestle his way across the line.

Following the early shock, Newcastle woke up, finally in the cold conditions. Beau Scott strongarmed the ball from a Cowboy earning the home side possesion. They shifted it left to Joseph Leilua who finished the chain of passing.

Waking the beast, might have been the wrong option for the Cowboys who couldn't find the rhythm of the opening ten minutes. Beau Scott once again found himself, central to the attacking play, swatting away Thurston, much like in origin before gifting Darius Boyd a try right under the sticks.

Trailing on the scoreboard, away from home and in cold conditions. The Cowboys could be forgiven for turning up their toes but they were gifted attacking opportunities that like a gift from an unpleasant Aunt were ushered to the shadows quickly.

Newcastle though, would add to their misery when Kurt Gidley moved from his hooking position to the halves turned on a solo effort. The former origin star spun out of one tackle on the floor, rolled over and made it a ten point lead at halftime. The out of sorts Knights had a precious lead to defend going into the second half.

Going into the second half, the first grade fixture descended into a Holden Cup type fixture with seven tries shared by the two sides that are housed outside the top eight. Newcastle continued their assault on the North Queensland right-sided defense when Dane Gagai unleashed magical footwork to score twice, once in the 50th after a standing start. The second was a classic centre try as he got outside his man to plant it down in the 66th minute. 

Wayne Bennett knew he had to make a tough call, to resurrect the Knights season and he changed the halves pairing, going with Mullen and Gidley with Roberts coming from the bench. The now interchange player, found himself in the right place after Robbie Rochow offloaded to Darius Boyd who found the halfback extending the lead to 22. 

Knowing they had the game safe in their possession, the defense slacked from both sides. Cowboys efforts in the second half, came from simple efforts. Sims in the 62nd minute from a Michael Morgan dart. The fullback repeated that again for a double to the North Queensland halfback, who ran a combined ten metres for both efforts. 

Most of these, came after Akuila Uate steam-rolled his opposite number after the brothers Sims got involved in a stripping call. Uate continued his impressive try-scoring feat at Hunter Stadium but overall Wayne Bennett will be pleased, scoring 36 points but less so, conceding 28 after Curtis Rona slid in right on the full-time buzzer.


Match Details
Newcastle Knights 36 North Queensland Cowboys 28
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Crowd: 11925
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 16 North Queensland Cowboys 6

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jarrod Mullen
2 points - Beau Scott
1 point - Dane Gagai

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (36)
Tries: Joseph Leilua, Kurt Gidley, Darius Boyd, Dane Gagai (2), Tyrone Roberts, Akuila Uate
Field Goals:
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (4/7)
Penalty Goals:

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (28)
Tries: Antonio Winterstein, Tariq Sims, Robert Lui (2), Curtis Rona
Field Goals:
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (4/5)
Penalty Goals:


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

TEAM CHANGES:

NEW: Wayne Bennett has made the hard calls, with the Knights season slowly slipping away, he's shuffled the halves and forward pack. Tyrone Roberts drops to the bench, Kurt Gidley originally at hooker moves to halfback. Adam Clydsdale takes the hooker spot with Korbin Sims moving from the bench to prop. The bench is now Roberts, Houston, Tapine and Newton.

NQL: The away side have given their side a slight re-shuffle as well after origin injuries have claimed a few scalps. Curtis Rona takes the vacant centre spot after Brent Tate's injury while Glenn Hall comes in for Matt Scott to round out the starting thirteen. John Asiata comes onto the bench.

Welcome to a chilly Hunter Stadium, the venue for tonight's clash between Newcastle and North Queensland. Newcastle are entering desperation stakes with their season hanging by a thread. They'll be out to continue the Cowboys hoodoo outside of their home stadium. North Queensland come into this clash, with a few injury concerns due to origin but want to continue their rise up the ladder.

4: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Antonio Winterstein. Kick to come.

Winterstein capitalises on a Boyd drop from the bomb to score.

5: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Converted.

13: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Joseph Leilua. Kick to come.

A nice backline movement puts Leilua over.

13: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful.

Gidley misses.

23: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Darius Boyd. Kick to come.

Beau Scott bursts through the line, swatting away Thurston and sending Darius Boyd over underneath the sticks.

24: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.

Gidley slams it through.

35: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Kurt Gidley. Kick to come.

Gidley wasn't held and after confirmation from the video referee, the halfback had the try confirmed.

36: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.

Converted.

40: HALFTIME :: Newcastle 16, North Queensland 6.

49: PENALTY Knights! Beau Scott has terrorised the Cowboys down the right side, earning this penalty for a leg pull.

50: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Dane Gagai. Kick to come.

It was a simple stop-start step from Gagai, who got the ball in a stationary position before making the marker clutch at air, standing up Michael Morgan for the four pointer.

52: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.

Kurt Gidley from the sideline squeezes it inside the posts.

54: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Tyrone Roberts. Kick to come.

Back-to-back efforts from the kick-off! Rochow had an age in the tackle after poking his nose through, finding Boyd who in turn gave it to a fresh on the field Tyrone Roberts who evaded a customary ankle tap from Thurston to slide in.

56: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.

Gidley with another one from in-front slots it.

57: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Robert Lui makes an unforced error.

The handle has truly fallen off for the Cowboys tonight. Tamou tried forcing the issue, passing to the halfback to knock on.

60: Ashton Sims and Michael Morgan make some in-roads into the Knights line, allowing Thurston room to place a kick, trapping McManus in-goal.

62: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Tariq Sims. Kick to come.

Rugby league or a dinner party? That try suggests the latter. Tariq Sims had a saloon passage from a pass to get the ball down before the Knights had even tackled him.

62: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston unsuccessful.

Thurston needs to be perfect henceforth, the five-eighth swung it too far.

66: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Dane Gagai. Kick to come.

The revolution was short-lived. A penalty gave them possession and Gagai finished it off. Boyd's pass got the centre outside his man and he did the rest.

67: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful.

Gidley once again from the sideline, can't squeeze this one in.

68: UNFORCED ERROR NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Kurt Gidley makes an unforced error.

Whoopsie, Gidley has been good with the ball most of the night. Not there, slipped and slided into the error.

69: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Robert Lui. Kick to come.

Soft tries conceded by both sides. Michael Morgan has been a shining light in the dismal Cowboys team. His quick play-the-ball allowed the halfback the room to score.

70: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Quick conversion from Thurston.

71: Korbin Sims with a one-on-one strip. The forward eyed the try-line but was roped in. He gets the penalty though.

73: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Akuila Uate. Kick to come.

Game. Set. Match. Akuila Uate just ran over his man there. He got over Curtis Rona and slammed it down.

73: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful.

Gidley must be cursing his wingers.. another sideline attempt here.. just from the left, he walks in and hits the post.

76: PENALTY Cowboys - Linnett is found high, by Mason.

77: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Robert Lui. Kick to come.

A slight of hand from the halfback got him enough space to put the ball down.. and score.

79: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston converts.

79: SIX MORE.. for the Cowboys. High tackle from Boyd is on report.

80: UNFORCED ERROR NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Robert Lui makes an unforced error.

The halfback tried diving over for a hat-trick. He spilled it though.

80: VIDEO REFEREE: Rona claiming one.

80: TRY NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Scored by Curtis Rona. Kick to come.

Cowboys finished off with a flurry. A kick out wide for Rona finds the centre who touches down.

80: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Conversion attempt by Johnathan Thurston successful.

Thurston with the academic conversion.

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