Josh Mansour   : Digital Image by Chris Lane nrlphotos.com: :NRL Rugby League - Newcastle Knights V Penrith Panthers Hunter Stadium, Saturday March 28th 2015

The Knights have continued their unbeaten run with a convincing 26-14 win over the Panthers today at Hunter Stadium.

Penrith struggled to get any momentum going in the first half of the match and gave away a raft of penalties that the home side used to their advantage. Having a new hooker and a new halves combination didn’t help our case, but we didn’t do ourselves any favours with the number of silly mistakes we made.

Some very lazy defence from the Panthers handed the Knights their first try in the 7th minute after Jarrod Mullen chose to pass instead of kick on the 5th, sending the ball to Chris Houston who sidestepped a Penrith defenders and ran over the line to score. The kick sailed straight through the uprights to give the home side a 6-0 lead.

They backed that up in the 14th minute after being awarded back to back penalties 10m out from their line. Hooker Adam Clydesdale collected the ball in front of the posts and dived straight passed a Panthers defender to get the ball over the line. The conversion put them ahead 12-0.

Penrith’s kick off was too long which gave the Knights a 20m restart, and they scored off their next set. After wrapping up our defenders on the left wing, fullback Kurt Gidley busted straight through a hole in our defence and dived over to score. Once again the conversion was on target, so the home side were in front 18-0, 20 minutes into the match.

The Panthers put their first points on the board in the 23rd minute after being awarded a penalty 20m out from our line. Captain Peter Wallace threw a beautiful cut out pass from in front of the posts out to Matt Moylan on his left, and he passed to Josh Mansour who then stepped inside a Newcastle defender and ran in to score. Moylan’s kick bounced off the upright, so the score went to 18-4.

We came agonisingly close to scoring our second try in the 34th minute when Jamal Idris was on the receiving end of a Wallace chip kick and he batted it back to Bryce Cartwright who offloaded to Wallace, who ran the ball up but was tackled just short of the line. He rolled over and stretched the ball over the top of his head to get it down, but the video ref ruled it was a double movement, so Newcastle took possession.

HALF TIME: Knights18-4 

The Panthers came agonisingly close to scoring in the 46th minute when Jamal Idris collected the ball 10m out from the line and broke through one tackle before being brought down right on top of the line. The video ref ruled that he had been held up so it was play on. We then had another chance on our left wing but the ball was lost over the sideline so it was Newcastle’s set.

The Knights blew their lead out even further in the 52nd minute after the Panthers dropped the ball a few metres out from Newcastle’s try line and handed them a fresh set of six from 10m out. After sending the ball out to the right and drawing our defenders in, winger Akuila Uate sprinted up the sideline to score. The conversion took the score to 24-4.

In the 65th minute we bagged our second try after Wallace collected the ball from a scrum on our 10m line, and sent it to Moylan who ran straight through Newcastle’s defenders and over to score. Moylan missed the conversion, taking the score to 24-8.

In the 71st minute we scored again after Api Koroisau collected the ball from dummy half and sent it left to Wallace, who passed behind him to Dean Whare, who ran straight over the top of a defender and side stepped another to get the ball over the line. Moylan’s conversion got us the extra two, so we narrowed the score to 24-14.

In the final minute of the match the Knights were awarded a penalty from in front of the posts to add an extra two to their full time score.

FULL TIME: Knights 26-14