Knights claim commanding win over Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights claim commanding win over Eels

By Adrian Proszenko 11/03/2006 08:24:35 PM Comments (0)

Having buried his feud with Parramatta coach Brian Smith, Newcastle skipper Andrew Johns went about impressing his future boss with a commanding performance in the Knights' 25-6 win over the Eels at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Matching up against promising halfback Tim Smith, Johns dominated his rival No.7, kicking a field goal and having a hand in four of his side's five tries.

The focus leading into the match was on coaches Michael Hagan and Brian Smith following the Parramatta mentor's decision to fill the vacant role at Newcastle from next year.

The move effectively meant a coaching swap between the teams after Hagan had earlier agreed to a three-year deal with the Eels from next season.

But once the game began it was Johns who stole the limelight, steering the Knights to a convincing victory in front of a packed house of 26,198.

The home side capitalised on some good fortune early, with fullback Milton Thaiday scoring in just the second minute off a clever Johns ball.

Moments earlier the Knights appeared to get away with a knock-on which was missed by referee Russell Smith.

Knights fans got an early scare when Johns went down after being smashed in a Luke Burt tackle in the 10th minute. But the champion halfback was merely winded and soon returned to his feet.

After dominating field position in the middle stages of the first half, Parramatta hit back and took a 6-4 lead after Michael Vella crashed over from close range.

It was the first and last time the Eels were in front, however, with Great Britain winger Brian Carney scoring in his debut for the Knights after the Eels were found short on their left-hand flank.

Tempers flared just before the main break, with Burt and Johns again clashing, but the situation was quickly defused and the Knight went into the sheds with an 8-6 lead.

The Knights extended their advantage to eight points just five minutes after the break after Riley Brown finished off some clever lead-up work from Kurt Gidley and Danny Buderus.

Newcastle continued to dominate, with tries to Matt Gidley (53rd minute) and Adam Woolnough (72nd) ensuring a bright start to the new season.

Earlier, serial pest Peter Hoare held up the kick-off after riding a tricycle onto the middle of the ground. It took several minutes for security to staff to apprehend Hoare, who rode out wearing a Ned Kelly-style helmet and cradling a black cat.

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