Full Time
4:05pm Sun June 16, 2024
Round 15 - McDonald Jones Stadium, New Lambton / Awabakal - Crowd: 27966

Match Overview

The crowd was baying for their team, but it was not enough to get the home side the win, and the Knights went down 26-18 against a relentless Penrith Panthers.

The Knights brought some expansive footy to the table early on. Off the back of two successive penalties early, the Knights managed to draw first blood as their new star interim full-back, Fletcher Sharpe, went over.

Not to be outdone, last year's premiers countered after an Adam Elliot high tackle penalty gave the Panthers position to attack the Newcastle line. A kick from Brad Schneider found  Scott Sorenson waiting to tap it back, but instead, a fortunate bounce gave the second rower the ball, and he fell over the line for the points.

Five minutes later, the Panthers' tail was up, making the most of being in the Knights red zone so quickly again. Schneider and Jerome Luai worked together to draw in the Knight's defenders and send Brian To'o over in the 17th minute.

For the next 15 minutes, the Knights tried to get back into the game with some pressure down the Panthers' line, but their attack was thwarted by a scrambling defence, which turned on their own pressure to counter it. In the 32nd minute, Luai mesmerised the Knight's defence with his footwork, and he found a gap, pushing the Panthers ahead further.

In a turning point of the game, Dane Gagai made a great break up the right, and while the rest of the Knights thought he was held in a tackle, he shot out on offload; no Knights saw it, only Scott Sorensen who gobbled it up and it took the wind out of the Knights.

Luai, again dancing at the line, found gaps, and Lindsay Smith got over right on halftime with Paul Alamoti's conversion, putting the score at 20-6, which looked bleak for the home side.

But the Knights showed they weren't down, and with a Schneider kick going dead in their goal they made the most of a seven-tackle set, and some change in attack created space for Dylan Lucas to go over at the 52nd minute.

With the Knights getting the crowd and momentum behind them, they questioned the Panther's defence, with Jackson Hastings seeing an opportunity and placing a great kick for Bradman Best to go over, giving the home side a good sniff on the 60-minute mark with the scores 20-16 for the Panthers.

But with the front row duo of Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris coming back into the fray, the Panthers started to wrestle back into the game. 

It was an inspiring run by Moses Leota in the 64-minute of the game, where he dissected the Knights' line and found Dylan Edwards backing him up. Edwards had been a little quiet in the game, but true to his form, he was there when the team needed him.

With some more scrambled attack from Penrith and scrambled defence from the Knights, the game shut down, and the Knights had no more chances in what may have been one that got away.

A kick out on the full from a kickoff in the 20-minute mark and the failure to be aware of the Gagai offload in their 38th minute hurt them. It was a valiant fight back, but they made it hard for themselves.

The Panthers were a bit wobbly, but the polish of their star players like Luai, Letoa and Fisher-Harris helped them stir the game in the direction they wanted, with a little flare at the end of their sets setting them up each time.

3. Dylan Lucas

2. Scott Sorensen

1. Jackson Hastings