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Live: Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders


Daniel Briggs

Full-time: Thanks for joining us for our live blog. It wasn't pretty but that's a huge win for the Raiders. They went into camp on the Central coast this week to escape the criticism surrounding the downward spiral the club is experiencing and they appeared to be a united side tonight. Dugan had some good and bad touches but for mine, was the man of the match with some classy plays at key times. Joel Thompson was also strong for Canberra, while big Lee definitely looks like he belongs in the top grade. The Knights tried hard but nothing seems to be clicking for them at the moment. It looks to be a long second half of the season in store for them. Sadly, they were booed off the field at full-time. "It couldn't get much worse," Danny Buderus tells former teammate Adam McDougall in his post-match interview. Raiders 32 - Knights 16.

79th min: Lee is going to strike Croker off the Christmas card list! The Raiders centre broke clear down the left wing but was ankle-tapped with an unmarked Lee on the inside begging for his hat-trick!

73rd min: TRY! A bit of luck there as Lee gets his second. Mullen's cross-field kick was weighted nicely for Mata'utia on the right wing. But Dugan was on the spot and as he tackled the Knights fullback into touch, he passed the ball back in field straight into big Lee's arms. The young Queenslander then proceeded to sprint 70m to score in the left corner for his second meat pie of the night, which Croker duly converts from the touchline. Game over now. Raiders 32 - Knights 16.

72nd min: Another mistake there from Dugan as he spills a grubber that rebounded back to him quickly off a Newcastle foot. He's been a bit hot and cold tonight in just his second game at five-eighth, but there has been a lot of encouraging signs as well.

67th min: As the great Augustus Gould would say: "No no no no no no no!" Travis Waddell drops it from dummy-half 10m out from the Newcastle line. Massive let-off for the home team.

65th min: Wow, a big play there from Mata'utia has probably saved the match. McCrone sliced through the Knights' line from his own 20m and with Ferguson looming in support, the Knights custodian gets a hand to McCrone's pass to prevent a certain try. The Raiders are still on the attack from the resultant scrum feed.

63rd min: TRY! He's made some mistakes but another touch of class there from Dugan extends Canberra's lead. A nice inside ball to Trevor Thurling sees the big man crash over. That all came from Snowden's error after the Knights looked to be getting on top. Croker looks to be over his kicking yips from recent weeks, he nails that one and it's Raiders 26 - Knights 16.

62nd min: Kade Snowden loses the ball getting up to play it and the Raiders will have a rare chance down near the Knights' line.

60th min: TRY! We're not playing tiddlywinks here, are we? A Knight slips into a tackle from Travis Waddell that was only high because of the fall. But the Knights receive another penalty 10m out. And the wealth of possession finally tells as McManus scores in the left corner. Some tough calls against the Raiders there but we have a ball game again! Roberts hooks the conversion attempt. Raiders 20 - Knights 16.

57th min: Tough call against the Raiders there. McManus seemed to outleap Pelo and bat the ball back to a Raiders player. But Jared Maxwell ruled Pelo lost the ball forward to an offside Raider. The Knights have a penalty 10m out. But justice prevails at the end of the set with the Knights losing the pill. Hold the phone! A Raiders forward pass from Travis Waddell gifts the ball straight back to Newcastle.

52nd min: Great defence from the Raiders. Dugan blocks the Knights' grubber and Croker brings the ball out of danger.

51st min: A heavy tackle from Willie Mason that must have been close to a head slam forces an error from Lee and the Knights are on the attack again.

50th min: But a poor attempted pass from Adam Cuthbertson is pounced on by the Raiders' Josh Papalii.

49th min: the Knights earn a dropout as Ferguson defuses a bomb before being tackled in the in-goal.

47th min: And another rough play from Dugan as he kicks the ball out on the full going for a 40/20 to give the Knights a scrum 40m out from the tryline.

45th min: Fooooooooooooooree!!!! Dugan's cut-out pass to Lee nearly ends up back in Canberra. That was an absolute shocker with the Raiders on the attack 10m out.

44th min: The Raiders should have had a penalty there as a raft of dummy-half runs earned quick metres. Sam McIlwrick caught the Knights' markers in no-man's land but the referee saw otherwise as the Raiders lose the ball.

Second-half: We're under way again at Hunter Stadium.

Half-time: What could have been a great half for the Raiders turns sour right on half-time with Mason's try. The Green Machine has looked as strong as it has since its round four win over Wests Tigers, with Josh Dugan looking strong at five-eighth. The Knights have had their chances and have taken advantage of some soft goal-line defence to stay in the match.

40th min: TRY! A 'nothing' penalty that all fans love sends the Knights down to the danger zone and some soft Raiders defence allows big Willie Mason to keep the home side in touching distance with a four-pointer just before the break. Roberts converts. Raiders 20 - Knights 12.

36th min: TRY! No doubt about it, McCrone's cross-field kick was spilled by Knights winger James McManus and Harrison had the easy task of just picking up the ball to score. Croker nails the conversion. Raiders 20 - Knights 6.

36th min: We're going to the video ref for a possible try to Canberra's Bronson Harrison, it looks goooooooooood!

31st min: The Knights have a foothold in the contest now. Over the past 10 minutes they have had 65 per cent of the ball.

28th min: TRY! Dane Gagai gets his first try for his new club. That was the first time the Knights' attack has targeted the struggling Jarrod Croker in defence, by the way. He was clutching at straws as Gagai stepped inside him to score out wide. Tyrone Roberts converts. Raiders 14 - Knights 6.

27th min: NO TRY! Tahu turned Ferguson inside out there but the Raiders' defence manages to hold him up over the line.

27th min: We're going to the video ref for a possible try to Newcastle centre Timana Tahu.

26th min: A great chance comes unstuck for the Raiders. McCrone's cut-out ball put winger Dimitri Pelo in space on the right edge, but his ball back inside to an unmarked Blake Ferguson is ruled forward.

23rd min: A calamity of errors there as both sides knock-on within seconds of each other. The Raiders get the ball back and a penalty right in front. After a hectic few minutes, they will slow things down here and kick for goal. Crocker nails it. Raiders 14 - Knights 0.

21st min: And another Knights error on the kick return, this time Big Kev Naiqama. The Raiders will be well on the attack again.

20th min: Back-to-back penalties put the Knights on the attack but the Raiders are manning up in defence tonight after last week's abysmal 40-0 loss to the Tigers.

16th min: Chris Houston, we have a problem! And it's Thompson's shoulder as a strong tackle close to the line forces a Knights error.

15th min: Normal service has resumed, people. After knocking on, the Raiders concede a penalty on the fifth tackle to give Newcastle a great chance on the attack.

14th min: The Knights hold on by the skin of their teeth there. They conceded a penalty and then knocked on to give the Raiders six more tackles. But Canberra spills the pill to give the Knights the ball for the first time in what seems like 10 minutes.

12th min: Matty Utai (not the Wests Tigers bloke) spills Josh McCrone's down field kick inside the 20m zone to continue the Knights' woeful start.

9th min: TRY! Where has this Raiders side been all year? Dugan is ballplaying nicely in the No.6 jumper but Joel Thompson was helped by some soft Knights defence to race through and score under the posts. Worrying signs for the Knights early. Croker converts. Raiders 12 - Knights 0.

8th min: The Raiders look sharp here. Dugan's grubber needed to be batted dead and they will have another set from the line dropout.

7th min: And the Knights have put the kick-off into touch on the full! Shocking start by the home side. The Raiders go on the attack 30m out.

5th min: TRY! No one wanted to go up for Josh Dugan's bomb. Edrick Lee picked up the loose pill to score the easiest of tries. Sorry Warren Smith, I'm pinching your catchphrase again: "And the Raiders will play from in front tonight!" Jarrod Croker converts from close range. Raiders 6 - Knights 0.

2nd min: The Knights make the first mistake and the Raiders will get a full set from the halfway line.

Kick-off: We're under way at Hunter Stadium.

Team news: Raiders utility Joe Picker has been replaced by Trevor Thurling on the Green Machine's bench. Picker had an operation at a Newcastle hospital today to remove a boil on his arm.

Preamble: Some might suggest this is the battle for the wooden spoon. Others who are a little more optimistic seem to think it's an opportunity for either side to start a resurrection of their season. Either way, I'm exclusively tipping this will be the game of the year! It could finish 2-2 or 44-38. Make sure you don't miss a thing when the only game today kicks off at 7.30pm.

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