Mullen stars in Knights win over Sharks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mullen stars in Knights win over Sharks

By Liam FitzGibbon 30/04/2007 09:17:03 PM Comments (0)

Knights halfback Jarrod Mullen continued to ease concerns over the retirement of Andrew Johns as Newcastle survived a late Sharks comeback to win their NRL clash 20-16 at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Mullen sparked three tries to set up the win after Newcastle had trailed 4-2 for the majority of the first half, though the Knights had to hold off a spirited Sharks fightback in the final 15 minutes.

Newcastle looked to be coasting towards victory after stretching to a 20-6 lead with 22 minutes to go but late tries to David Simmons and Ben Pomeroy left Knights fans on the edge of their seats.

Lock Kirk Reynoldson scored two for the home side and Kurt Gidley also crossed while Simmons scored two and Pomeroy one for Cronulla.

The match, involving 10 players set to back up in Thursday's City v Country match, was free of any major injuries although Country five-eighth Greg Bird could be in trouble after he was reported for a high shot on Adam MacDougall in the 65th minute.

Newcastle fielded a highly inexperienced bench and overcame several pre-match injuries, including losing five-eighth Daniel Abraham to an ankle injury, to bounce back from last week's loss to the Broncos and move into the NRL's top eight.

A long-range try to Reynoldson 12 seconds from the break, set up by Mullen, gave the Knights an 8-4 halftime lead.

The Knights halfback had put winger Brad Tighe through near halfway to send speedy centre James McManus down the sideline.

McManus turned the ball back inside to Mullen but the halfback was wrapped up just metres out from the Knights line in a try-saving Brett Kearney tackle.

The Sharks ran out of numbers on the next play as the Knights shifted the ball back infield to give Reynoldson a relatively easy run to the line, Gidley adding the extra's to give the Knights a four point lead at the break.

Mullen again integral as Newcastle ran in tries in the 55th and 58th minute.

Mullen spun a lovely cut out pass to winger Todd Polglase who sent MacDougall towards the line before the centre floated a lovely ball to give Gidley a clear run to the line.

Gidley took some exception to Bird coming in late after he had grounded the ball before converting his own try to extend the Knights' lead

Mullen carved through the line from the 40m mark just three minutes later before turning the ball inside to send Reynoldson over for his second.

With the game looking out of reach, Cronulla clicked into gear and Simmons crossed in the corner for his second in the 71st minute to give Sharks fans some hope.

Simmons then turned provider, with a lovely cross crossfield kick on the outside of his boot sending Pomeroy racing out wide to score.

Luke Covell converted his second in a row from the sideline to reduce the margin to four but the clock ran out for Cronulla.

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