Knights thrash Panthers 35-0 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights thrash Panthers 35-0

By Todd Balym 06/09/2009 10:17:28 PM Comments (0)

Adam MacDougall showed there was plenty of fight left in the old Mad Dog but just how much depends on how deep the Knights progress in the NRL finals.

MacDougall starred as Newcastle belted Penrith 35-0 on Sunday to secure a place in the finals and a showdown with the second-placed Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium next Saturday.

The 34-year-old veteran delivered a master class over Penrith's NSW centre Michael Jennings, setting up one try and scoring another in the second half to help seal his side's finals destiny.

MacDougall has been offered a one-year deal to remain at the Knights in 2010 but hasn't decided whether to retire to help wife Belinda with their growing family business.

The former Test star returned to Newcastle in 2007 with the sole aim of playing finals football and now that has been achieved the Dog may decide to rest his weary paws after 15 years of first grade.

"Playing finals football was one of my goals when I came back to the Knights and now that I've done that it's finding something else that is going to motivate me," MacDougall said of his future.

"It depends how far and how good we go this year."

How far could hinge on MRI scans on hooker Isaac De Gois on Monday after he was carried from the field in obvious pain with an injury to the lateral ligaments in his left knee.

Despite the loss of De Gois the Knights still dominated a disjointed Panthers side, MacDougall starring in attack and keeping Jennings silent with the ball.

MacDougall sought the advice of NSW assistant coach Andrew Johns during the week about how to handle Jennings and then totally outplayed the rising star.

"It's always good at my age to play the young big guns," said MacDougall. "I'm not arrogant but I knew with ball in hand I could cause him as much problems as he caused me.

"Like most good centres you have to back yourself and I was confident if I was given a few opportunities to take him on I was confident I would be able to have a crack at him."

Fullback Kurt Gidley was also instrumental in the win, scoring twice, while Matt Hilder was brilliant when shifted to hooker, scoring from dummy half.

Halfback Scott Dureau showed some promise with his controlled game highlighted by a field goal on the stroke of half-time to stretch the lead to 13-0 and demoralise the Panthers.

The win capped a stunning turnaround by Newcastle under new coach Rick Stone, the Knights winning three of four games since he replaced sacked coach Brian Smith.

"When we took over with four games to go we had a big job at first to turn things around," said Stone.

"To win three out of four games is really satisfying.

"I'm really pleased with this performance, particularly the nil scoreline, that is impressive at this time of the year."

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