Knights score comeback win over Sharks
The Newcastle Knights have recorded their third win on the trot after scoring five unanswered tries to come out 30-18 victors over the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday afternoon.
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Both teams carried two-game winning streaks into the clash, but the game would be one of two halves with the wind playing a massive part in the fixture's proceedings.
Down 18-0 in the first half, Newcastle somehow pulled a rabbit out of a hat to record their fifth win of the season and keep their flailing finals hopes alive.
The game also signalled the return of Sharks firebrand Andrew Fifita, although there was some concern that skipper Paul Gallen tore his left bicep during the game.
With Cronulla crossing for three tries in the first half, the Knights first four-pointer came in the 37th minute when Knights prop Willie Mason escaped the nudie run for another year courtesy of a brilliant pass from Adam Clydsdale and reducing the deficit to just 12 points at halftime.
The second half signalled the Knights resurgence when they made further inroads in the Sharks defence in the 54th minute, the elements and the bounce of the ball playing their part for Uate to score his 96th career try. A short chip across field from Mullen and bounced between Michael Gordon and Sosaia Feki for the Fijian flyer to pounce and re-ignite the game at 18-12.
And it took just three minutes for Knights captain Kurt Gidley to level the game. The veteran halfback ducked under some feeble defence, and despite concerns of an obstruction in the lead-up, converted his own try to set up a grandstand finish.
But the Knights' momentum proved too hard to stop, with the visitors making it four from four when NSW representative Beau Scott crossed to put his side in the lead for the first time in the game. The try came in the 64th minute thanks to a deft short pass from Gidley to the awaiting Scott to gain a 24-18 advantage.
It took only another three minutes for the Knights to cross again. Some slick play from David Fa'alogo saw him enter a bit of space, draw in Cronulla's defence and put away Jarrod Mullen who raced 40 metres to score his first try of the season. A field goal from Mullen in the final minute sealed the game for the Knights.
It was all the Sharks though in the opening half and they were on the board very early thanks to some handy offload work from Luke Lewis and Gordon in the third minute. With Gordon seemingly held up only a metre from the try-line the fullback managed to throw a sneaky pass to a supporting Jeff Robson for the first points of the game.
Newcastle were disallowed a chance in the 10th minute when five-eighth Mullen spilled the ball just before the try-line and it would be the case again in the 22nd when Chris Houston was ruled to have scored from a Tyrone Roberts knock-on.
The video referee's finger had another workout only two minutes later when he disallowed a try to Cronulla hooker Michael Lichaa, ruling that he spilled the ball over the try-line.
But that wouldn't stop captain Paul Gallen having his say on the game. His bullocking run in the 28th minute allowed his team to extend their lead to 12 when, with three defenders on him, he popped up a ball to Gordon to score his fourth try of the season.
A Darius Boyd knock-on gifted the Sharks their third try of the game when winger Sosaia Feki crossed in the corner with five minutes remaining in the half. From the Boyd error the Sharks spun it out wide, with Newcastle short in defence, Feki crossed unmarked out wide to make it 18-6 though they rarely threatened again from there.
Newcastle Knights 30 (Mason, Scott Uate, Gidley, Mullen Tries; Gidley 5 Goals) defeated Cronula-Sutherland Sharks 18 (Robson, Gordon, Feki Tries; Gordon 3 Goals) at Remondis Stadium. Crowd: 17,242.