Alex Johnston scored his fifth hat-trick of tries in a game as Souths comfortably disposed of a sloppy Knights team 24-10, who have now slumped to 9 losses from their last 12 games.
Johnston's first try was recorded in just the third minute of the game, when Souths, in their first attacking set of the match, sent the ball left where some lovely late passing saw Burns produce a beautiful catch-and-pass to Johnston, who raced away to score in the left corner. Adam Reynolds nailed the sideline conversion.
It took 20 minutes before the services of the scoreboard attendant were called upon again. This time the Knights produced an almost replay of the Souths try, where Bradman Best got a good catch and pass along to Dominic Young who dived over in the corner to score a good try. Jake Clifford failed to convert from out wide.
In the 32nd minute, Benji Marshall ignored calls to send the ball right, instead dishing the ball along to Cody Walker on the short left side. Walker threw a stunning flat, cut-out pass that hit Johnston sweetly and the winger bagged his second try of the game. Reynolds again converted from touch.
Two minutes from half-time, Latrell Mitchell tried to shield a Knights grubber over the dead-ball line, but it hit him before going dead, forcing a Souths drop out. From the next set, Clifford chipped over the top, 20 metres out from the Souths line. The ball ricocheted out of a contest and into the Souths in-goal where Kurt Mann scrambled on his hands and knees to plant the loose ball for a try. Clifford converted to keep the Knights within 2 of Souths at the break.
Eight minutes after halftime, Souths, after going right twice for no result in consecutive sets, switch back to the left side with immediate success. Another catch and pass play creates the extra man and Johnston scored in the corner for his third try of the night. Reynolds again was flawless with his sideline conversion.
A great defensive set by Souths in the 59th minute kept the Knights inside their own 30 metres. Latrell Mitchell ensured the Souths set started inside the Newcastle half thanks to a strong run. On the last tackle of the set, Reynolds put in a gentle grubber which ricocheted off the Knights defenders. Jaydn Su'A following through toed the ball ahead and then dived on it in the Newcastle in-goal to score a good try. Reynolds converted from almost in front.
Neither side really came close to scoring for the rest of the game as play was scrappy from both sides, but not without some exciting runs from either side. In the end, the Knights attack generally looked pedestrian outside of the strong attacking kicking game of Clifford in the first half.