The Newcastle Knights served up an insipid performance on a big day in Newcastle falling to a 48-10 defeat against the Cronulla Sharks at the temporarily renamed Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium in front of 20,000 fans.
The performance from the Knights in the first half left alot to be desired with the Sharks scoring after just four minutes when some good shifting play from the Sharks saw Jesse Ramien cross for the opening points. The Knights were given enough chances with the ball in the opening minutes but some very poor attack cost them and it was this poor attack and discipline that cost them when the Sharks crossed for a second. The Sharks second try came through Valentine Holmes when Chad Townsend's crossfield kickwas left to bounce by the Knights outside backs and Valentine Holmes picked it up and ran through.
The Knights again got a chance to attack after the Sharks failed to complete after points but again some inspid attack didn't put too much pressure on the Sharks defence who in turn off the back of a string of penalties found meterage easy to make and added a penalty goal to push out to 10-0. The Sharks had to wait almost fifteen minutes before they could put a third try on the board when Jayden Brailey backed up from his own pass to Matt Prior to score.
The home fans had a bright moment of joy approaching half time when Lachlan Fitzgibbon twisted his way through the Sharks defence after a good ball from Jack Cogger sent the Knights big man into the hole to score the Knights first. The joy was quickly turned around when the Sharks used their numbers well down the left hand side and Josh Dugan got through to the line to score and the Sharks lead by 22-6 at the break.
The second half didn't start well for the Knights with Nathan Ross not returning to the field with a groin injury. The second half was the Matt Moylan show and that was on show when Moylan combined with Wade Graham to cause headaches for the Knights right edge when they set up Edrick Lee to score. The Sharks then added another try when Matt Moylan sensed an opportunity in the middle of the field when he put Luke Lewis through a gap to score another well worked Sharks try.
The Sharks tries kept coming in quick succession with Valentine Holmes chasing through another Matt Moylan kick and after a forensic examination on grounding by Luke Patten and Ben Cummins in the bunker the try was award and the Knights had their sixth try of the match. The Sharks looked to try a bit too hard to get the magic going but it was Matt Moylan again who found the key to the Sharks and again off the boot he set up Jesse Ramien to score his second try. Valentine Holmes scored his hat trick with ten minutes to play when Jesse Ramien unselfishly passed out to Valentine Holmes to score after Ramien looked as if he could score after the Knights couldn't contain the Sharks metre makers.
The Knights best passage of play came in the last ten minutes and arguably their best kick of the game came off the boot of Mitch Barnett who set up a try with a perfect grubber in behind that was initially sent to the bunker on a NO TRY live decision but it came back giving Sione Mata'utia the points.
Next weekend, the Knights have a battle against the bottom of the table Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium in Saturday's only game, whilst the Cronulla Sharks have a top 4 battle up against the South Sydney Rabbitohs also at ANZ Stadium but on Friday night.