Knights v Rabbitohs: Five key points
The Bunnies won a fiery clash at McDonald Jones Stadium, grinding out a 24-18 win over a gritty Knights outfit on Saturday afternoon.
Farah's milestone woes finally over
Souths hooker Robbie Farah hasn't had a happy time in milestone games thus far in his career. The former Wests Tigers rake was on the losing side in his NRL debut, along with his 50th, 100th, 150th and 200th NRL games. A change of scenery finally brought a change of luck for the milestone man, who earned a win in his 250th NRL appearance. Granted, a year ago he probably wouldn't have expected it to happen whilst wearing cardinal at myrtle but he has slotted into the new system well, combining brilliantly with fellow rake Damien Cook.
Rossdog a scrapper
Popular Knights winger Nathan Ross went down with what looked like a horror ankle injury in the 28th minute. In what started out as a regulation hit-up, the 28-year-old was folded awkwardly under the body weight of Souths forward Kyle Turner and his left ankle was bent almost at a right angle. Ross stayed down for several minutes as he was attended by the club trainer before gingerly rising to his feet, playing the ball and limping back out to his wing. He shook it off and played out the game, showing his determination and toughness. No doubt having waited so long for his NRL shot he was in no hurry to spend more time off the field than he needed to, however scans await that will determine whether he ends up missing game-time over the injury.
A costly brain explosion for George Burgess…
Rabbitohs prop George Burgess's 23rd minute elbow to the head could only be described as a brain explosion of the highest order. It's no secret both Burgess twins are on a short leash with coach Michael Maguire, who has lost patience with their inconsistent and error-prone games. Burgess started the year in reserve grade, put in a good stint (despite one poor error) in last week's win over Manly and was rewarded with a Round 3 starting berth. Having lost the ball from a restart in a big hit from Mitch Barnett – which appeared to instigate a bit of niggle – Burgess launched an elbow at the lock's head and followed up with something of a back-fist strike. The referees had no choice but to send him from the field and the prop was lucky it was only for 10 minutes rather than for the match. Souths' 10-point advantage evaporated in the ensuing 10-minute stretch as the Knights crossed twice against the 12-man defensive line and what Maguire's reaction at the selection table is – whenever Burgess is next available for selection pending a likely suspension – remains to be seen.
…and an almost more costly one for Trent Hodkinson
Even the calmest heads in rugby league aren’t immune to frayed tempers from time to time. With Newcastle down 10 points inside the final 10 minutes and having just earned an attacking set courtesy of a Souths mistake, the Knights lost the scrum against the feed. The Knights skipper clearly felt the scrum wasn't legitimate but play was allowed to continue. Hodkinson lost his cool at referee Dave Munro, telling the referee he had just cost Newcastle the game. Munro rightly sat Hodkinson down for 10 minutes and what was originally a loss of possession became a penalty against Newcastle plus a sin-binning that all-but ended the contest. The fact Newcastle clawed a try back with Hodkinson off the field to give themselves one last set to try and force golden point raised questions of what might've been had they kept 13 on the field.
A learning curve for Lamb
Impressive Knights playmaker Brock Lamb has had a fine start to season 2017 but came up with a costly mistake to start the second half. A towering kick-off was headed over the dead-ball line on the full and Jacob Saifiti was in position to catch the ball from beyond the dead ball and earn his side a penalty from halfway. Instead Lamb intercepted it, catching the ball with his toes up against the dead ball line to keep it in play which ultimately cost his team a line drop out and an early try to Bryson Goodwin. If he didn’t get a call to leave it he certainly should have, but either way the youngster will learn a valuable lesson about kick-offs headed dead on the full.