Rugby League

Knights weather Storm for first-up win

March 24, 2024 9:20 pm

[ Source : NRL.COM ]

The Knights held off a late Storm surge to open their 2024 account on home soil with a 14-12 victory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

With new pairing Jack Cogger and Tyson Gamble finding their feet in the halves, the Knights scored two early tries and kicked a penalty shot in the first half, which remarkably was enough to get the job done over an undermanned Melbourne side.

Two teams contending for a premiership last season, both the Knights and Storm were far from clinical, coughing up errors and misfiring opportunities but Newcastle will be relieved to walk away with their first points for the season.

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Both sides traded punches in the early stages but it was the Knights who broke the arm-wrestle through centre Dane Gagai who shrugged off replacement centre Kane Bradley before powering over the line.

Newcastle had all the momentum and five minutes later Kalyn Ponga stamped his authority on the match, jumping in at hooker and firing a bullet pass to send an unmarked Enari Tuala over on the left edge. Ponga converted for a 12-0 lead.

Pressure continued to mount for Melbourne and a Will Warbrick ball strip handed the home side an opportunity to add an extra two points to take a handy 14-0 lead to the sheds.

Melbourne got on the board eight minutes into the second half with Xavier Coates tapping a Jonah Pezet kick back for Ryan Papenhuyzen to dive over the line and reduce the deficit 14-6.

After an earlier opportunity was denied by a Tyson Frizell try-saver, a solo show-and-go effort from deputy halfback Tyran Wishart put his side back within two points with just five minutes to play.

Papenhuyzen attempted to kick a two-point field goal but it was all too little too late for the visitors who suffered their first loss for the season.