Souths march on past patched-up Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Souths march on past patched-up Knights

10/04/2010 08:53:01 PM Comments (0)

Another strong display from in-form hooker Issac Luke and two tries from Nathan Merritt helped South Sydney seal a 28-10 NRL victory against Newcastle at Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium.

Luke was instrumental in all of Souths' best attacking moves, having a hand in three of their five tries, as the Rabbitohs recorded a third successive win for the first time since 2008.

Souths coach John Lang was full of praise for the performance of the 23-year-old, and warned the rest of the NRL there is more to come from Luke, putting his improvement down to playing 80 minutes regularly.

"Issac is in terrific form and I think that is down to him getting more and more experienced," Lang said,

"I actually thought he played a lot better for the Kiwis in the Four Nations tournament last year, and playing the extra time gives him more opportunity and gives him more options.

"He is out there for 80 minutes and can pick his times to attack."

Luke produced some ferocious tackling, dominating around the fringes of the ruck and kicking four goals for good measure.

One first-half hit in particular from the diminutive rake poleaxed Knights prop Ben Cross, who was left spinning in the air after running head-on into Luke.

However, he could be sweating on a potential lifting charge from the NRL judiciary on Monday after a challenge on Cory Paterson dumped the Knights utility on his head.

Luke was not put on report and Lang said he did not remember the incident.

Knights coach Rick Stone, who refused to comment on Luke's tackle, felt the officials were against his side, who lost the penalty count 8-4.

"I would like to see us win a couple more penalties, I don't know if refs just expect us to lose and are being extra harsh on us, but we are not getting a break in those 50-50 calls and that makes it tough for us," Stone said.

The result capped off a miserable evening for the struggling Knights who saw halfback Scott Dureau limp off with a hip injury just before halftime, and Stone revealed that skipper Kurt Gidley will make a welcome return from injury against North Queensland next week.

"We could have played Kurt tonight at a pinch, but I want to see him have two full weeks of training before throwing him back him," he said.

"He will give us some drive and some leadership which we do need, but I don't want to rush him back just yet."

Souths had an injury scare of their own when skipper Roy Asotasi limped off in the first half with a knee injury.

And despite returning to the bench after re-emerging from the dressing room, Lang said he wouldn't have forgiven himself had the Kiwi star done further damage by allowing him to play on.

"He's done some damage to a medial ligament, if it had been a grand final we would have left him on but we couldn't risk it at this stage of the season," he said.

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