Johns inspires as Knights beat Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johns inspires as Knights beat Panthers

By Laine Clark 25/06/2005 09:40:09 PM Comments (0)

The return from injury of NSW halfback Andrew Johns has helped Newcastle finally register its first win of the NRL season, a 28-24 victory over the Panthers at Penrith Stadium.

In only his third game in almost 10 weeks, Johns helped Newcastle convert a 14-0 halftime deficit into a four point victory that ended a 13 game losing run - which equaled the fifth worst season start in NSWRL-ARL-NRL history.

Johns - in his first game back after damaging his neck in Origin II - played a hand in three of Newcastle's five tries and booted four from five conversions in yet another memorable injury comeback.

His return and a quick look at the statistics gave Newcastle a sniff of a chance of breaking a club record losing run when it arrived at a chilly Penrith Stadium.

The Panthers have lost five of their seven home games this season while the Knights have won 12 of the last 15 clashes with Penrith.

But few would have tipped the Knights, especially after Johns appeared to suffer a groin strain in the first half in a concern for NSW selectors before the Blues team is named on Monday.

After trailing 14-0 at halftime, a Johns-inspired Newcastle stormed to a 22-14 lead by the 63rd minute.

Johns cut out passes set up tries to forward Clint Newton (45th minute) and centre Brad Tighe (48th) before winger Anthony Quinn snapped up a ball spilt by Panthers three-quarter Danny Galea and raced 45m to score.

Johns then combined with five-eighth Jarrod Mullen to send Milton Thaiday over in the 63rd.

But the Panthers hit back through tries to centre Paul Franze (67th) and hooker Luke Priddis (70th) from simple dummy half runs to snatch a 24-22 lead.

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