No frills Knights defeat dozing Dragons

THE Newcastle Knights have overcome a dreadful first half performance to defeat a depleted Dragons side 14-10 in front of a 17,205 strong crowd at WIN Stadium.

Both teams went into the match minus some key players due to Origin and injury and the effects were telling as both sides struggled to find direction in the first half.'

The game started untidily with Dragons knocking on from the kick off, however he was not out done by his opposition with the Knights losing possession on their first play.

As the half progressed neither team managed to build pressure as they surrendered posession and conceded soft penalties. 

Points did not come until the 34th minute courtesy of a Ben Hornby penalty goal after Matt Hilder was penalised for a high shot on Nathan Fien.

The Dragons' were finally able to put something six minutes later to score the first try of the match right on half time.

The second half started at a much higher standard as the both sides put together some strong attacking sets.

The Knights were finally put some point on the board in the 57th minute when Keith Lulia caught the Dragons' defense napping. Wes Naiqama added the extras to level the ball game.

The Knights were over again in 64th minute when Ryan Stig slid through some tired Dragons' defense. Naiqama had no problem adding the extras again.

Naiqama added another two points for the Knights in the 67th minute with a penalty goal.

However the Dragons' hit back five minutes later when Simmonds scored his second. Ben Hornby added the extras to reduce the Knights' lead to four.

The Dragons' threw everything they could at the Knights in the final minutes of the match but they could not break through.


Match Details
St George Illawarra Dragons 10 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 14
National Rugby League - Round 17 - Sunday July 3, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Ben Cummins and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and Steve Chiddy
Crowd: 17,205
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 6 Newcastle Knights 0

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Richard Fa'aoso
2 Points - Jason Nightingale
1 Point - Peter Mata'utia

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (10)
Tries: Reece Simmonds (2)
Conversions: Ben Hornby (0/2)
Penalty Goals: Ben Hornby (1/1)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (14)
Tries: Keith Lulia, Ryan Stig
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Wes Naiqama (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Join the discussion on Sunday footy - Dragons v Knights on our forum - click here... or on Twitter! Make sure you follow us on @LeagueUnlimited and be sure to add the hashtag #nrlstinew to your tweets about tonight's game!
Good Afternoon folks and welcome to WIN Stadium Wollongong for this round 17 clash between the third placed St George Illawarra Dragons and the sixth placed Newcastle Knights.
We have beautiful weather here for what should be a close fought match, with both sides missing some key players due to injury and Origin duties.
Wayne Bennet has made a couple of last minute changes to his Dragons' side. Mitch Rein will come into the starting side with Dean Young moving to the bench. Trent Merrin comes into the side replacing Michael Greenfield in the second Row and Jake Marketo replaces David Gower on the bench.
For the Knights Dan Tolar moves into the starting side at prop in place of Evarn Tuimavave who is out and will be replaced by Mark Taufua on the bench.
1 min: Cummins blows time on and Nathan Fien drops the ball from the kick off. Scrum to the Knights on the 10 metre line.
1 min: Now the Knights lose the ball.
3 min: Newcastle get a penalty 35 out from the Dragons line.
5 min: Poor set from the Knights and the Dragons are off the hook.
6 min: Fien puts in a poor little grubber on half way, it goes straight into the arms of Naiqama.
6 min: Fien puts in a poor little grubber on half way, it goes straight into the arms of Naiqama.
7 min: The defense rushes Stig on the last, he stabs it into the in goal but it goes straight into the arms of Nightingale who cleans it up for the Dragons.
8 min: Another penalty to the Knights on the halfway line.
10 min: Mata'utia comes so close to scoring on the last but is ruled to have knocked it on in trying to put the ball down. Opportunity gone begging.
12 min: Dragons get a penalty 35 out from the Knights line. Let's see if they will have more luck than the Knights.
12 min: Poor kick from Fien on the last. It goes straight over the head of his winger and into touch.
14 min: Penalty against the Knights to give the Dragons a piggyback out of their half.
15 min: Dragons bomb another opportunity, this time with a pass going into touch.
15 min: Dragons bomb another opportunity, this time with a pass from Nightingale going into touch.
16 min: Another penalty to the Dragons to give them a piggyback out of their own half.
17 min: Hornby throws a forward pass right on the Knights goal line. Both teams are struggling with execution today.
21 min: Fairly dull game so far. Both sides are lacking direction and fast running out of steam.
23 min: Dragons make 60 meters on that set. Big improvement.
23 min: Dragons make 60 meters on that set. Big improvement.
25 min: Good set from the Knights until the last play. They make 90 meters during the set courtesy of some clever passes, however a poor kick from Stig on the last is much too easy for Nightingale to diffuse.
26 min: Sau knocks it on for the Knights 30 out from the Dragons line.
26 min: The Knights are penalised for being off side 10 meters in their own half.
28 min: Cuthbertson grubbers for himself on the third to bomb another opportunity for the Dragons.
30 min: Roberts goes to the air on fifth 20 out from the Dragons' line it lands a few inches in the dead ball line and bounces backwards to force the Dragons to clean it up. Line dropout.
31 min: Poor kick from Stig on the last to take the Dragons off the hook to make things worse Newcastle concede a penalty to give the Dragons another piggyback up the field.
32 min: Bad kick from Fien on the last goes dead in goal However Hilder is pinned for a late high shot on Fien and a penalty goes to the Dragons.
34 min: PENALTY GOAL
The kick from Hornby goes straight over the black dot to givethe Dragons a two point lead.
St George Illawarra Dragons 2-0
35 min: Knights are penalised for another high shot, 25 meters out from the Dragons' line. Penalty count is now 6-3 to the Dragons.
36 min: Merrin knocks it on a few meters inside the Knights half.
36 min: Poor grubber kick from Roberts on the last goes straight into McKinnon's arms.
40 min: TRY
Some good work by Jason Nightingale to set up a try for Reece Simmonds in the corner after the Knights are pinned for a forward pass on their thirty. Conversion attempt by Ben Hornby is unsuccessful. Dragons lead 6-0
St George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
40 min: That's the half. Both sides have been average in the first half and no doubt both coaches will have a lot to say.
41 min: Ben Cummins has blown his whistle and the second half is underway.
42 min: Both sides appear a lot more focused at the moment. With two promising first sets.
45 min: Knights a penalised for being off side 35 out from the Dragons' line.
50 min: Fien's kicking game is looking much better, he is really testing out the Knights backs here.
51 min: Opportunity for the Dragons here. They will get a full sets in the Knights half.
52 min: Opportunity gone begging as a Hornby pass goes over the sideline.
53 min: Nice runs by Sau and Mata'utia to break get into the Dragons' half after a nice offload by Fa'aso. However Sau knocks it on as he gets up to play the ball.
54 min: Fien goes high on the last but Mata'utia is up the challenge.
55 min: Nice break by Roberts for the Knights to put the Knights in a good attacking position.
57 min: TRY
Knights choose to spread the ball out wide on the last and Lulia bustles through the defense to score the Knights first points of the match. Conversion attempt by Wes Naiqama is successful. 6-6
6 all
62 min: Young loses it cold on his own 20 to give the Knights an opportunity to take the lead.
64 min: TRY
Ryan Stig just slides through the Dragons' defense to give the Knights the lead. Conversion attempt by Naiqama is successful. Knights lead 12-6.
Newcastle Knights 12-6
66 min: Scrum on halfway for the Knights after Stanley is tackled into touch.
67 min: Knight get a penalty 30 out from the Dragons' line right in front of the goal and they'll go for the two.
67 min:
67 min: PENALTY GOAL
Naiqama has no problem kicking the goal. Knights lead 14-6.
Newcastle Knights 14-6
72 min: TRY
Simmonds scores his second after shrugging off 3 Knights defenders to score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Ben Hornby is unsuccessful. Knights lead 14-10.
Newcastle Knights 14-10
74 min: Dragons make a break down the right side and Simmonds grubbers it into the in goal. The Knights' bacls are left with no choice but to take it dead. Line dropout.
76 min: Merrin is unable to catch a pass from Fien and the Knights are off the hook.
77 min: Joel Edwards has just crunched Nagive forcing him to lose the ball meters from his own line. However the ball is ruled to have gone backwards and Cummins rules play on.
80 min: Dragons will have to run 80 meters in 60 seconds.
80 min: The Dragons lose the ball only 30 out from the Knights line. With ten seconds left in the match the Knights should come away with a win.

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