Newcastle Knights

Saifiti shows up Broncos pack in big Knights win

Saifiti tore through some insipid first contact from the Broncos pack at every opportunity, helping himself to 226 metres and a try in two power-packed spells while for Brisbane, Payne Haas played a lone hand with Tevita Pangai jr producing a deeply forgettable return from a long suspension.

Some lovely touches from Mitch Pearce and Kalyn Ponga and yet another excellent game from Kurt Mann provided the points but it was Saifiti, his brother Jacob and David Klemmer that provided the platform, dominating the Broncos pack throughout.

Dragons, Knights to meet in Kogarah trial

All three senior grades will feature throughout the afternoon of Saturday, February 23, with first grade to commence at 6.30pm.

"This weekend is a fantastic opportunity for the Club to feature three grades at the one venue," Director of Football, Brian Canavan said.

"This match is a great chance for the team to see where it is positioned ahead of the 2019 season."


Pearce set for long stint on sidelines

Pearce left the field inside the final five minutes, with Jamie Buhrer filling in at halfback and placing a kick that resulted in the match-winning try to winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

Brown indicated post-game scans were set to confirm the extent of the injury but said it didn't look good.

The Knights coach also cleared any confusion during the game by confirming Pearce was replaced by Luke Yates as a free interchange - with Yates able to return to the field after passing a HIA examination.

Brown takes swipe at Bennett after Knights win

Bennett was coach of the Knights for three seasons from 2012-14, before Brown took over in 2016, and was given the task of rebuilding virtually from scratch. 

The former Dragon did not hold back in letting Bennett know that he holds him responsible for leaving the club in such a bad state, ending his post-match press conference after landing the blow.

"The reality is, when Wayne came to town, if he thought with his big head rather than his little head I wouldn’t have had to rebuild the joint," Brown said.

Nathan Ross humbled to join Knights leadership group

The 29-year old larrikin has made many headlines since his Telstra Premiership debut in 2015 for his fun-loving persona, quickly developing a cult following.

Despite being a footballer who is cheeky on and off the field, the winger's performances speak volumes and have led Knights coach Nathan Brown to award 'The Rossdog' the honour of being part of the club's leadership group this season.

Ross was elevated to the group along with high-profile teammates Jamie Buhrer, Sione Mata'utia, Mitchell Pearce, Aidan Guerra, Mitch Barnett and Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

Kostjasyn forced to retire

Kostjasyn sustained a complex throat injury during a routine pre-season training session in January. He has undergone a number of surgeries to repair the injury, however his airways have been significantly narrowed.

Mata'utia charged with tripping

Mata'utia faces a fine of $1100 if he enters an early guilty plea but risks a $1500 fine if he unsuccessfully fights the charge at the NRL judiciary.

There were no other charges from the weekend's Round 18 matches.


Photo by: Gregg Porteous: NRL Photos (Peter Mata'utia in action against the Bulldogs on Sunday). 

Gagai to leave Newcastle

Gagai joined the Knights in 2012 and has played 116 of his 122 NRL matches for Newcastle.

Gagai informed his teammates before joining the Queensland Maroons side in camp on Monday.

"We are obviously disappointed that Dane has decided to leave the Club, but we respect the decision he has made with his family," CEO Matt Gidley said.

"Dane has been a wonderful player and ambassador for our club over the six years he has been with us.

"He will leave at season's end with our best wishes for the future."

Forward pass calls costly for Knights

Knights halfback Jaelen Feeney had found some open space immediately after the break and threw inside for Brock Lamb, but referee David Munro ruled the pass forward.

After a dominant 14-0 display in the opening half, the Novocastrians fell away on the back of a high error rate in the second term and further 50-50 calls going the visitors' way throughout the remainder of the game.

Rookie errors hurt us tonight: Brown

Newcastle were by far the better side for the opening 39 minutes and should have gone to the sheds with a healthy lead, only to shoot themselves in the foot in the shadows of half-time to allow the Bulldogs to get back into the contest. 

For the second week in a row, Brown's troops found themselves trailing 18-6 against experienced opposition, only to fight their way back into the arm wrestle to set up a grandstand finish.