Knights beat Souths on Simpson's 200th - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights beat Souths on Simpson's 200th

By Ed Jackson 29/06/2009 10:22:30 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle forward Steve Simpson has celebrated his 200th NRL game for the Knights in style with a great try in his team's 25-20 victory over South Sydney on Monday.

The back-rower had the 14,204 fans at EnergyAustralia Stadium on their feet by finishing off a 60m fifth tackle play sparked by NSW State of Origin hopeful Jarrod Mullen.

Mullen's bullet-like 20m flat pass sent centre Adam MacDougall clear in the 59th minute, the veteran finding winger Keith Lulia after a short run before Simpson finished off the play.

It was the highlight of a rampaging second-half by the Knights, who turned around a 12-6 halftime deficit to score three tries to two in the second term and inflict the Bunnies' fourth loss in a row.

Early tries to Richie Fa'aoso and Lulia in the second half got the Knights back on top before Simpson's four-pointer appeared to have sealed the points.

Mullen then capped a five-star second-half display by scoring a cool field goal in the 76th minute.

The disappointing Rabbits were fortunate to be leading at the break, with the Knights dominating the opening 20 minutes.

Despite crossing the line three times in that period, only Akulia Uate's effort in the ninth minute counted for the Knights.

That failure to capitalise proved costly when Souths backrower Michael Crocker stepped past Junior Sau in the 23rd minute and muscled his way over to give the visitors a 6-4 lead.

That try came off the back of a penalty and when the Knights infringed again six minutes later, Souths halfback Chris Sandow made them pay when his smart grubber found Jamie Simpson to extend the lead to 12-4.

That was the last time the Rabbits would trouble the scoreboard until the 77th minute, when David Fa'alongo was on the end of Sandow break.

Simpson then scored a consolation try for Souths right on fulltime to make the score a flattering one for the visitors.

Simpson said he will remember his milestone game despite coming from the field with what looked like a concussion shortly after his try.

"I will, I'm not too bad at the minute, I was a bit hazy there for 10 or 15 minutes but I'm coming good now," he said.

"I haven't scored one yet so it's always important to get off the duck-egg for Mad Monday ... it was great.

"It's certainly a game I'll cherish."

Knights coach Brian Smith said his team's second-half performance had been one of their better displays this season.

"We played probably about 10 lengths better in the second half than the first," Smith said.

"And I'd say that's probably close to our best almost-half of football. Controlled and physical and as a full team unit it was great to watch.

"I didn't care for the last two minutes too much, and I didn't care for the first half at all."

Souths coach Jason Taylor was upbeat despite the loss, saying his team has to find its effort and intensity for a full 80 minutes to turn things around.

"We're a competitive team there tonight but you've got to be able to do it for 80 minutes," Taylor said.

"What we did in that first 40 minutes, we'll take that every week.

"They just came out stronger at the start of the second half but we still fought hard. We were working our way out of it, I thought, and we were probably going to get back into the grind of the game with the score at 12-all but then we made an error and it went to 18-12 ... tough from there."

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