Knights on an NRL crusade - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights on an NRL crusade

By Laine Clark 31/07/2005 08:06:38 PM Comments (0)

For a side still favoured to claim the NRL wooden spoon, Newcastle looks set to have a huge bearing on the finals make-up after an Andrew Johns-inspired Knights threw another spanner into the top eight works.

When the dust settled on an upset-riddled round 21, Newcastle still sat dead-last on the NRL ladder after the bottom three sides in line for the dreaded spoon emerged victorious.

However, the Knights may decide the finals fate of several teams on their regular season run home judging by their 37-18 disposal of Melbourne at Newcastle on Saturday night.

The Storm arrived at EnergyAustralia Stadium in third spot but settled back into Melbourne in sixth after Johns guided the Knights to an impressive six tries to three victory.

It was a major worry for top eight contenders the Bulldogs, Manly, Cronulla, New Zealand Warriors and St George Illawarra - the Knights' last five regular season foes.

"We are going to miss the eight so I'd like to see a few others miss the eight. They can have Mad Monday about the same time as us," key Newcastle forward Clint Newton said.

Newcastle (12 competition points) is still in danger of collecting the wooden spoon after Penrith (16pts) dented the Warriors' finals chance with a 42-34 win on Saturday night and South Sydney (15pts) upset the Bulldogs 37-24.

"We had a dinner at the club three weeks ago and we talked about avoiding the wooden spoon and we said there was no reason why we couldn't win every game going in and we believe we can," Johns said.

It was an eventful weekend for Johns who re-signed until the end of 2008 with the Knights and stitched up a "four to six game" deal with English club Warrington for later this year.

If Newcastle is called "nuisance value", the Dragons grabbed the tag "premiership threats" after all but ending the Sydney Roosters' finals chances with a resounding 44-6 victory in front of a record Wollongong crowd on Friday night.

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