Knights v Cowboys: Five key points
A distraught Knights captain, Paul Green's happiness over his bench players and a key Cowboys injury headline the key points to come out of the Cowboys' 26-24 win over Newcastle on Anzac Day.
Kurt Gidley devastated by personal performance
Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley admitted he hadn't felt so disappointed in his own performance in a long time after the Knights' two-point loss to North Queensland.
Shifting to halfback when Jarrod Mullen failed to return from a concussion late in the first half, Gidley went on to miss five tackles and make four errors and said he couldn't "look his teammates in the eye" following the game, in what was Newcastle's fourth-straight loss.
"I love playing team sport and I love the club but it's one that I won't forget for all the wrong reasons. It's a hard one because I made multiple errors," Gidley said post-game.
"Especially being a captain and being a leader I pride myself on leading the way, but the harder I tried the worse it got for me.
"It's a tough one to sit in the sheds after the game and not being able to look your teammates in the eye but I can move on reasonably quick after a couple of days and I'll look to the next game to win back my teammates respect."
Knights coach Rick Stone backed his skipper though and said the team will look to pick him up over the coming days.
"You have to take the good with the bad and generally there are more positives than negatives with Kurt," Stone said. "He's a hard marker and sets himself high standards as you'd expect from your skipper."
Cowboys buoyed by injury replacements
Within seven minutes of the Cowboys' fifth-straight win against Newcastle, Paul Green's men had lost lock Jason Taumalolo (knee) and hooker Jake Granville (concussion) for the game.
It saw Scott Bolton and Ray Thompson put forward two of the best performances of the day, with Bolton especially putting forward a memorable game after making 140 metres and 35 tackles.
"It's fitting considering the day it is, given it is Anzac Day, I thought the courage and toughness and resilience we showed was just outstanding. It was a massive effort from some of the boys there," Green said.
"Ray Thompson came into the team, hasn't played NRL this year and played 70-odd minutes in the middle. Scott Bolton nearly played the first half without a break so losing those guys just changes everything around and it was just a courageous effort from all of our blokes."
Taumalolo a huge lost for Cowboys, Kiwis
Speaking of Jason Taumalolo, the rampaging 21-year-old is set to be a huge loss for both the Cowboys and the New Zealand Test team who will play Australia next week.
With Taumalolo suffering a medial strain according to his coach Green, the wrecking ball will reportedly miss the next six to eight weeks.
Considering he was averaging 165.7 metres and 21.6 tackles before this game, the loss of Taumalolo will be felt massively by club and country.
Cowboys didn't owe Knights one
The Cowboys achieved at least some kind of redemption against the Knights in this one.
The away team were filthy with Newcastle and particularly injured back-rower Beau Scott who bullied key player and co-captain Johnathan Thurston out of the game when the Knights prevailed 16-14 over the Cowboys in Round 2.
But Green insisted his men didn't owe Newcastle anything in the rematch between the sides.
"We were a little bit disappointed with that loss at home and the boys were pretty keen to play pretty well today," Green said. "It wasn't a case of we owe them one or anything like that, we just wanted to put on a good showing because we were disappointed with how that game panned out."
Novocastrians justify hosting Anzac game
There had been some criticism of Newcastle being allocated one of five games on a bumper Anzac Day schedule ahead of the Canberra Raiders, but the Novocastrian crowd responded with 15,518 individuals making their voices heard – a solid crowd considering the Knights' current losing streak.