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Live blog: Newcastle Knights v St George Illawarra

Well that's it. Dragons cause the first boilover of the year, in the first game.There's only one question I don't know the answer to - does Leeson Ah Mau have a hamster glued to the back of his head, or is that his haircut? Thanks for joining the blog. All the after-match news will be in the SMH tomorrow and on LeagueHQ

84 min: Soward 30m out right in front, drop goal and it's all over. Dragons win 15-14

83 min: Now Knights lose the ball. Dragons scrum 40m out.

82 min: Cuthbertson loses the ball 12m out and cruels the Knights set-up.

81 min: Fa'aoso puts a massive hit on the luckless Prior and he loses ball. KNights scrum 40m out. That hit could win Newcastle the game.

Overtime request approved by the CEO. Knights kick-off

80 min: It's golden point extra time. 14-all at fulltime. Hang on while I put in my request for overtime.

78 min: Mullen tries his luck with a field goal from 48m out but it falls well short.

77 min: Dragons move into position for another shot from the drop out but Dean Young knocks on 15m out from the Knights line. Are we heading for golden point in the first game of the the year?

76 min: Dragons set up again for a field goal, but Naiqama rushes out of the line and Soward is forced to pass. A Creagh grubber into the ingoal isrushed over the deadball line.

74 min: 42m out Soward tries a field goal, but never looked like making it.

71 min: The ranga McKinnon is back in the action and earns a penalty after Dragons strip it in tackle. Gidley opts to go for the penalty goal. 14 all.

68 min: After some magic from Nightingale to get out of his deadball area, young McKinnon puts a massive hit on Prior and forces the ball loose. Knights on the attack 20m out.

66 min: Uate makes a good burst from his tryline, but Buderus drops the ball after trying to get away quickly from dummy half. Dragons scrum 30m out from Knights line. Stinker for the Dragons - first tackle from the scrum win Beau Scott goes the blind and throws a ball out the back and over the touchline.

60 min: And it is. From the scrum Tahu redeems himself with a nice in and away that fools Hornby, a ropey pass from him is picked up brilliantly off his bootlaces  by McManus and he scores out wide. Gidley converts. Dragons 14 Knights 12. It's bucketing down now.

58 min: Stanley produces another falcon - this time off his shoulder (so technically not a falcon, but it looked impressive) - from a Mullen bomb. Scrum feed to Knights 15m out. This could be their chance.

54 min: A falcon from Stanley at the back gives possession back to the Knights close to the line. Brilliant defence holds the Knights out and then in the play the ball Tahu knees Prior while he's on the ground. A few fists are thrown. Tahu on report, penalty to the Dragons. That penalty could really cost the Knights, they were stretching the defence and looking likely.

52 min: Morris and Uate fly high for a Gidley bomb - Uate has it, but Morris wrestles it away from him.

49 min: Fashion note: Trent Merrin is getting very close to taking Nathan Hindmarsh's "Man With The Loosest Shorts In The NRL" title. Pull them up son.

46 min: Another mistake from the Knights gifts the ball to the Dragons. A couple of Dragons raids and Cooper muscles his way through the defence and over the line. Knights try to hold him up, but they go to the video and it's a try to the Dragons. Soward converts. Dragons 14 Knights 6.

42 min:   Dragons play hot potato with the ball from 5m out and send it across to the right hand side and Kyle Stanley flicks it out the back to keep the move alive back across the field. Cooper grubbers into the in-goal and Uate fumbles the ball into the in-goal but Fien knocks it on in trying to ground the ball. 

The second half is underway.

A marching band has provided the half-time entertainment, but they've missed a big opportunity, it should have been a medley of Monkees' hits in honour of Davy Jones (trivia note: just like Billy Slater he was a trackwork jockey).

Here's Brad Walter's take on the first half: "The Dragons look to be playing a more expansive style under Steve Price and were clearly the better team in the first half but the Knights were coming home stronger toward the end of the first 40. Maybe it's taking them a while to get used to the way Wayne Bennett wants them to play."

40 min: As the siren sounds for the end of the first half Soward takes a shot at field goal from 40m out but it misses. Dragons 8 Knights 6 at the break.

37 min: Tahu makes a half break down the left-hand side. The Knights have been targetting that side all first half.

31 min:  Jarrod Mullen goes into dummy half 30m out, snipes down the blindside and beats some ordinary marker defence to score down the left-hand side. Maybe Buderus taught him that move at training. Gidley misses the conversion. Dragons 8 Knights 6.

29 min: Zeb Taia penalised in front of the posts for stripping the ball - looks like a harsh call. Soward could kick this one blindfolded while still wearing his headgear. Dragons 8 Knights 2.

23 min: Boyd's trademark second man play looks to have resulted in a try for McManus down the left hand side but it's called back for a forward pass from the No.1 to McManus.

19 min: Good attack from Dragons, a kick through from Beau Scott just out of Hornby's reach and the ball beats him over the deadball line.

18 min: Two ordinary kicks from both Gidley and Soward to end sets. Both teams still feeling their way in attack. Boyd's first meaningful run nearly opens up the Dragons. Knights pressure from close out on last tackle but final pass doesn't stick.

13 min: Wes Naiqama drops the ball attempting to play it. Dragons start attack 30m out and make good ground before a pushed pass from Mitch Rein is picked up by the Knights.

9 min: First try of the year to Brett Morris. Play is spread wide from two metres out, Morris still had plenty to do to get over close to the line to get past Uate. Soward converts from out wide. Dragons 6 Knights 2.

7 min: Had the exchange of play between the two 20m marks. Penalty to the Dragons, who are on the attack 10m out.

2 min: De Belin penalised for holding down Darius Boyd in a tackle. Kurt Gidley takes a shot from 15m out - hits the upright on the way through. Knights 2-0.

1 min: Ben Hornby kicks out on the full. Not a great start for the Dragons.

The national anthem is done and it's game on.

The rain's falling and it's very humid - handling is likely to be difficult in these conditions. Joey (via helicopter) and Locky have delivered the premiership trophy to the sideline and Bennett and Price are giving last-minute instructions.

Preamble: Newcastle v St George Illawarra. Round 1, game 1 of 2012. Two new coaches - Wayne Bennett under the pressure to deliver what he did at the Broncos and Dragons, and Steve Price taking over Benny's clipboard at Kogarah/WIN.

On the paddock the Knights have new boys Darius Boyd and Timana Tahu in the backline, with Kade Snowden, Adam Cuthbertson and the returning Danny Buderus in the pack (early reports are that Danny has worked off the Yorkshire puddings he ate at Leeds). If halfback Jarrod Mullen can marshall the backline there'll be plenty of points in the Knights this season.

There's plenty of familiar faces in the Dragons - Ben Hornby, Matt Cooper, Ben Creagh and Dean Young, and there'll be plenty of eyes on Kyle Stanley in the No. 1 jersey. 

Late change for the Dragons with Jack De Belin to start and Young to come off the bench. The Knights are 1-13.

The boys at Channel 9 tell me Ray Warren is so excited he started hyperventilating as the Wide World Of Sports team bus was crossing the Mooney Mooney bridge on the F3.

To get you in the mood here's the new (or reworked) Bon Jovi This Is Our House ad campaign.

It goes alright, but how can you go past the 1989 What You Get Is What You See campaign featuring Sex On Legs - yep I'm talking about you, Martin Bella. Added bonus - you get tonight's team the Knights in their original Henny Penny training gear.

2 comments so far

  • Sounded like a good game, shame the telecast was delayed and had ads, can't wait for the broadcasting rights to go to a channel that will show it live with no adds, either that or give fox all the games, I don't mind paying for quality coverage.

    Date and time
    March 01, 2012, 10:38PM
    • Liked the new Dragons. They looked a bit more formidable in attack than under Bennett in 2011, which became quite predictable. Here we saw risks taken and more offloads.
      Newcastle looked like a work in progress and Dragons did well to contain them - especially the danger men Boyd and Uate.

      Date and time
      March 02, 2012, 8:41AM

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