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Darren Lockyer's 300th first grade game was drenched in thunder and lightning tonight, the Newcastle Knights outclassing a lacklustre Brisbane Broncos by 28-12.
The Broncos dominated in the opening stages before a storm hit the Energy Australia Stadium. The Knights stepped up to turn a 4-0 deficit into an 18-6 lead at the half time break.
Lightning strikes, thunder and rain then brought the match itself into question with referees and NRL match officials discussing the possibility of stopping play due to player safety concerns.
Following a 35 minute half time break, and the worst of the storm heading 'out to sea', the second half was allowed to get underway.
The Knights picked up where they left off, their forwards dominating the middle ground against a shell-shocked Broncos.
Jarrod Mullen, a late call up into the five eighth position, scored the heartbreaker in the 60th minute. The conversion from fullback Kurt Gidley added the extras to put the home side 26-6 in front.
The Broncos struck back with a consolation try in the 66th minute, but found themselves defending soonafter.
Gidley defied the conditions all night with the boot and slotted a final penalty goal in the 71st minute to bring up a near faultless performance.
Match Details Newcastle Knights 28 def Brisbane Broncos 12 Round 8 - Saturday May 2nd, 2009 7:30pm Venue: Energy Australia Stadium Referee: Tony Archer, Phil Haines Touch Judges: Grant Atkins, Steve Chiddy Video Ref: Phil Cooley Crowd: 18,154 Half time: Knights 18-6
Newcastle Knights 28 Tries: Mark Taufua, Jarrod Mullen (2), Aku Uate Goals: Kurt Gidley (6/6) Brisbane Broncos 12 Tries: Israel Folau, Sam Thaiday Goals: Corey Parker (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Kurt Gidley (Knights) 2 Points: Chris Houston (Knights) 1 Point: Isaac De Gois (Knights)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary KNIGHTS: 1. Kurt Gidley (c) 2. James McManus 3. Junior Sau 4. Adam MacDougall 5. Akuila Uate 19. Jarrod Mullen 7. Scott Dureau 8. Mark Taufua 9. Issac De Gois 10. Chris Houston 11. Steve Simpson 12. Zeb Taia 13. Matt Hilder Interchange: 14. Marvin Karawana 16. Richie Fa'aoso 17. Danny Wicks 20. George Ndaira BRONCOS: 1. Karmichael Hunt 2. Antonio Winterstein 3. Steve Michaels 4. Justin Hodges 5. Israel Folau 6. Darren Lockyer (c) 7. Peter Wallace 8. Nick Kenny 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Joel Clinton 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Ashton Sims 13. Corey Parker Interchange: 14. Aaron Gorrell 15. Palmer Wapau 16. Josh McGuire 17. Alex Glenn
Knights at home to the visiting Broncos outfit.
Darren Lockyer playing his 300th game for the Broncos.
Teams changes include the omission of Ben Rogers from the Newcastle side. Jarrod Mullen is playing in the No. 19 jersey for the Knights.
A bit of drizzle about but there is a healthy crowd on hand.
Kick off soon... Broncos KICK OFF!
2 min: NO TRY - Broncos denied by video ref after winger Antonio Winterstein loses the ball over the line out wide. On the end of an attacking raid with the Broncos on the front foot.
9 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Winger Israel Folau scores out wide following a pin-point cross-field kick from halfback Peter Wallace. Comes on the back of weight of possession. Broncos dominating in the early stages. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker unsuccessful. Brisbane Broncos 4-0
17 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Knights forward Mark Taufua crashes over next to the posts following an A+ offload from centre Adam MacDougall, running in traffic. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. Newcastle Knights 6-4
Broncos kick out on the full.
23 min: PENALTY GOAL Brisbane Broncos Parker from almost front locks up the score board. Rain starting to fall. Lightning and thunder not far away. Breeze picking up, favouring the Broncos. 6 all
30 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Jarrod Mullen charges towards the line and crashes over 18m in from touch. Follows a turn of possession in the Knights favour in what is now torrential conditions. Conversion attempt by Gidley successful. Newcastle Knights 12-6
34 min: Rain is now pelting down.
35 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Winger Akuila Uate takes a better than average slip catch near his own line following an ill-fated chip-kick from K Hunt. Uate sprints some 95m to score 15m wide of the posts. Conversion attempt by Gidley is spot on and another top kick considering the conditions. Newcastle Knights 18-6
39 min: NO TRY - Knights denied by the referee who deems that the Broncos catcher was taken out. Ball spilled out and a Knights players crossed the goal line, but was called back. Penalty to Broncos.
Half time: Knights 18-6 The Broncos dominated early but then the rain came down, and the wheels have fallen off the cart. Knights have since been in hot form with 58% possession for the first 40 minutes.
WEATHER UPDATE: There has been loud explosions here in Newcastle as lightning has struck over the stadium. The lights are out in the towers. ...reaching for the candles.
Thanks to the hard working technicians, most of the lights are back. Referees and club officials now discussing player safety issues in regards to the lightning.
Extended delay during this half time break while officials check out the weather. Players doing a 10 minute warm up in the hope of returning to the field. There's talk of the match being stopped. Please stand by...
GOOD NEWS: The worst of the storm has passed and the match will restart in about 10-15 minutes. Groundsmen checking out how much of the chalk has been washed away. They are being remarked as best as possible. Overall a 30-35 minute half time break - the players and opposing coaches will have to adapt. Crowd still healthy considering the events.
Players on the field following an extraordinary break in the game.
Second half underway...
50 min: 40/20 - A sodden ground underfoot but it doesn't stop Knights halfback Scott Dureau kicking a 40/20 and putting the home side on the attack.
51 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights Gidley about 10m wide of the posts makes no mistake after the Broncos markers are penalised for not being square. Newcastle Knights 20-6
55 min: Amazing passage of play and end-to-end stuff as the Knights get a roll on and look certain to score, Dureau being tackled in a try saver in front of the sticks. In the following ruck, Broncos fullback K Hunt intercepts and runs almost the length of the field. The ball eventually being passed into touch in the next movement.
60 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Mullen under the posts and it's all over red rover. Knights just playing tremendous footy, backing each other up and making plenty of yards up the middle of the ruck. Conversion attempt by Gidley successful. Newcastle Knights 26-6
66 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Broncos get one back with forward Sam Thaiday crashing over. Conversion attempt by Parker successful. Newcastle Knights 26-12
71 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights Gidley keeps his perfect kicking record for the night intact. Newcastle Knights 28-12
78 min: Broncos' fullback and halfback looking worst for wear. Karmichael Hunt limping on the wing, Peter Wallace battling to get up after a heavy tackle.
Full time: Knights 28-12 We finally have a result here in Newcastle following the long half time break. The Knights were simply stronger, faster, smarter. Broncos missed over 40 tackles and were outplayed in the middle of the park.