Knights warm-up for finals battle with big win over the Dragons

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St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights

Both sides made plenty of changes before the contest with both sides just feeling each other out and testing depth ahead of their finals clash next weekend against each other.

The Dragons were able to score in the right hand corner when some good work from the Red ‘V' saw Taliah Fuimaono score the opener. A tough conversion attempt from Rachael Pearson was waved away.

Some ill-discipline from Holli Wheeler helped Newcastle into good attacking position which the Novocastrians were able to take advantage of when Olivia Higgins got over from dummy half after the Dragons defence went in two directions.

An error at the back from the Knights gave the Dragons strong attacking position which they took advantage of straight from the scrum when Teagan Berry was able to get on the outside of the defence and scored in the corner. Another tough conversion was missed from Rachael Pearson.

The tit-for-tat nature of the game continued as Kiana Takairangi was able to show that she had plenty of strength as she was able to keep her arm off the ground from close range to the line and score. Southwell missed the conversion which kept the scores level at 8-8.

On the stroke of half-time it was an amazing pass from Jesse Southwell and then some strong footwork from debutant Jessica Gentle to combine for the Knights third try when a harbour bridge pass from Southwell found Gentle. Gentle's footwork then was able to beat the defence and score. Southwell converted to give the Knights a 14-8 lead on the break.

The momentum was all with Newcastle at the end of the first half and then they took advantage to start the second half when Emma Paki was able to score out wide when the Knights were able to create an overlap for the centre to get her first NRLW try. Southwell's conversion was waved away and the Knights held an 18-8 lead.

Mounting possession for the Knights became too much for the Dragons as their energy levels dropped and Emma Manzelmann was able to take advantage when she sprinted out of dummy half and got over. Jesse Southwell was able to convert to push the lead out to 24-8.

The Knights sealed the deal late in the contest when the Dragons defence were on different pages as Makenzie Weale took advantage and the tired defence couldn't stop her from getting over next to the posts. Jesse Southwell converted from close range to seal the 30-8 victory.

Next weekend, these two sides meet again in the first week of the finals and there will be no doubt that the teams won't look anything like they did today with key players rested from both sides.

St George Illawarra Dragons 8 - Newcastle Knights 30

Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Crowd: 6214
Halftime Score: St George Illawarra Dragons 8 Newcastle Knights 18

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Caitlan Johnston
2 points - Jesse Southwell
1 points - Elsie Albert

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (8)
Tries: Taliah Fuimaono, Teagan Berry
Conversions: Rachael Pearson (0/2)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (30)
Tries: Olivia Higgins, Kiana Takairangi, Jessica Gentle, Emmanita Paki, Emma Manzelmann, Makenzie Weale
Conversions: Jesse Southwell (3/6)


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