Newcastle secured an unconvincing 14-6 victory over Parramatta in a dour contest at Hunter Stadium in Round 6.
The home side – who were missing captain Kurt Gidley to injury – posted first points in the sixth minute when Akuila Uate was give a free passage to the try line off a wonderful offload from now-unwanted centre Junior Sa’u. A Tyrone Roberts penalty goal extended their lead to 8-nil with 13 minutes gone.
The Eels struck back six minutes before halftime when prop Tim Mannah bullocked over the Knights’ line and then twisted free of a bunch of Knights defenders who seemingly had him wrapped up. The conversion saw the sides head to the break with the Knights up 8-6.
Uate scored his second try of the afternoon when he crossed untouched after a well-executed right-side sweep in the 53rd minute, with Sa’u again offering the final pass and Darius Boyd figuring in the lead-up also.
But that was as much entertainment as the 24,000-strong crowd would see as both sides bumbled their way through ineffective raids over the closing 25 minutes.
In hindsight Newcastle were lucky to bank the competition points – they completed their sets at a woeful 65 per cent and made a massive 17 errors (to the visitors’ 11).
Aside from Sa’u, the Knights were well-served by prop Kade Snowden (18 hit-ups, 136 metres) and second-rower Zeb Taia (18 hit-ups, 157 metres, seven tackle busts).
For Parramatta, Chris Sandow ran 11 times and made six tackle-breaks, while Jarryd Hayne tallied 185 metres.