2022 review: Canberra Raiders
63 mins ago | Sam Bourke
The Newcastle Knights have produced a defensive display for the ages against the Dragons to advance to their first ever NRLW Grand Final next Sunday.
The Knights were the first to get on a roll, receiving a penalty in the fourth minute due to high contact from Elsie Albert. Soon after, they were on the board, with Tamika Upton going right down main street to touch down for the first points of the afternoon.
The next time the Dragons touched the ball, they made an error, and the way the Knights were playing you could tell that they were going to take advantage. They did exactly that, with Millie Boyle beating 5 defenders to crash over and extend the lead to two converted tries.
The first 10 or so minutes was undoubtedly all the Knights, however Teagan Berry turned the momentum herself by intercepting Upton's pass and taking it to the house for a four pointer.
7 minutes later it looked as though the Knights early advantage would be wiped off the board when Emma Tonegato crossed over, but the bunker deemed she knocked on before grounding the ball. Still, it very much felt as though the Dragons were in the contest.
In spite of their efforts to keep it close, the Dragons conceded a deflating try right on half time. After defending several consecutive sets close to their line, it all became too much as Kirra Dibb ended up scoring with ease. She converted her own try to make it 18-6 to the Knights at the break.
The Dragons had a mountain of both possession and field position to start the second half and on numerous occasions it looked as if they were guaranteed to go over for a try. However, the Knights defence was elite, and in hindsight it was that 10-15 minute period that won them the match.
If the Dragons spirit hadn't already been crushed by the Knights defence, it would've been after the Knights got a penalty and went upfield to score with their first attacking opportunity of the half, Tamika Upton scoring her second that looked very similar to her first. For good measure, the Knights scored off their next set through a shift to the right, with Kiana Takairangi finishing it off. They were in good ball due to a failed short kickoff attempt from the Dragons.
That was all she wrote, with the final score a blowout; 30-6 in favour of the Knights, who will take on the Parramatta Eels in next week's NRLW Grand Final.
Newcastle Knights 30 - St George Illawarra Dragons 6
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Milton
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 18 St George Illawarra Dragons 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Tamika Upton
2 points - Millie Boyle
1 points - Kirra Dibb
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (30)
Tries: Tamika Upton (2), Kirra Dibb, Millie Boyle, Kiana Takairangi
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Kirra Dibb (5/5)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (6)
Tries: Teagan Berry
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Rachael Pearson (1/1)