FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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The Cougars hosted Newcastle in Premier League?s round 16 of the competition. The Cougars opened the scoring in the 4th minute of play when winger Luke Dyer crossed in the corner after a cross-field bomb from halfback Keith Peters. Michael Gordon added the extras from the sideline to put the Cougars ahead 6-0. The next twenty minutes was a dour struggle with both teams looking to gain the upper hand. In the 24th minute, Knights hooker Nathan Berry opened his sides account. The successful conversion from Dane Campbell tied the scores at 6-6. 6 minutes later, Knights fullback Nathan Hinton finished a sparkling backline move, which started just inside the Newcastle half. He crossed under the posts and with Campbell?s conversion the Knights led 12-6. On the stroke of halftime, Knights utility Daniel Spiteri increased the Knights lead to ten. Campbell?s conversion after the siren had the Knights running to the sheds at 18-6.
The second half started with both teams again trying to get on top of each other. This was suiting the Knights as they had a 12 point lead. In the 51st minute, Cougars winger Dyer crossed out wide for his second try of the night and Gordon converted. This closed the gap to 6. 2 minutes later the Cougars were in again, this time through hooker Shannon Donato. Gordon once again added the 2 points and all of a sudden with 27 minutes remaining, the Cougars and Knights were locked together at 18-18.
In the 60th minute, Knights centre Dustin Cooper, returning in this match from a groin injury, put the Knights back in front. Campbell?s successful conversion had the Knights ahead by 24 points to 18. The Cougars though, would not lie down and accept defeat. In the 63rd minute, lock forward Lawrence Enosi scored twenty metres in from the western touchline. Gordon missed the relatively easy shot at goal and the Cougars trailed 24-22. This set up a thrilling 15 minutes to end the match. 2 minutes from time, Knights halfback Dane Campbell scored beside the posts and with his successful conversion, put the game out of the Cougars reach at 30-22.
Knights second rower Kade Snowden, was one of a handful of players who stood out. It looks like, after being involved in several first grade losses, he is getting some confidence back and we are seeing the Kade Snowden that we all know. Fullback Nathan Hinton continues to impress at the back and Dane Campbell carried his good first grade form back to Premier League.
Next week the Knights hope to avenge their first round 14-10 loss to the Roosters when they host them at EnergyAustralia Stadium. The Cougars travel to the nation?s capital and hope to repeat their 26-16 first round defeat of the Raiders.