Knights notch dramatic win over Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights notch dramatic win over Warriors

By Liam Fitzgibbon 13/05/2007 12:10:22 AM Comments (0)

It was billed as Jarrod Mullen's chance to stake his claim for the NSW halfback jersey but a colossal performance from Kurt Gidley overshadowed all in Newcastle's thrilling 24-18 NRL win over the New Zealand Warriors.

The fullback may have played himself straight into a Blues jumper as he led the Knights back from 18-6 down mid-way through the second half to an unlikely win at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Gidley defended gallantly, scored two tries to bring the Knights back to 18-all and kicked four from four in his haul of 16 points, prompting Knights coach Brian Smith to declare he was ready for an Origin call-up.

"I know it's not how they pick those teams - but just for what he's done for us this year, he really deserves to be picked," Smith said.

"All season long, he has been absolutely fantastic for us.

"He's won a couple of games with big plays, he's been strong and consistent and versatile and he's at the height of his powers right now.

"I spoke with Andrew (Johns) and we were just both shaking our heads at the improvement and the consistency in his game at the moment."

Gidley, who would most likely be picked for a bench utility role but could also be considered for halfback or five-eighth, wasn't getting ahead of himself despite the performance.

"Whatever happens, happens I guess," Gidley said.

"If you get picked, well it's all good, but if you don't it's back to the club the next week.

"I suppose I'll play anywhere if I get picked and get a start."

Mullen, returning from injury, certainly did his own chances no harm and was particularly dangerous in attack, but the young half played down his selection chances after the win.

"Probably not on tonight's performance, I've still got a lot of stuff to work on and I thought Kimmorley and Orford played well last night," Mullen said.

The Warriors appeared to be heading for victory when Nathan Fien scored a controversial try under the posts in the 52nd minute after a stream of sets on the Newcastle line.

The hooker grubbered for himself and appeared to climb over Clint Newton and ground the ball at the same time as the Knights prop, but the video referee gave the green light.

Rather than kick-on, the Warriors then seemed to tire and Newcastle, buoyed by the support of 15,107 fans, came rattling home.

Gidley stormed over in the 68th and 76th minutes, converted his tries to lock the scores up at 18-all and led an inspirational kick-chase to get the Knights the field position they needed for Adam MacDougall to score and seal the win.

Newcastle opted against a field goal in the dying minutes as interchange forward Adam Woolnough spun a cut-out ball to the Knights centre, who the finished the move in style.

Ruben Wiki had opened the scoring for the Warriors and Jerome Ropati raced 90m to stretch their lead to 12-0 before Steve Simpson grabbed a late first-half try to for the Knights to go into half-time down 12-6.

But the Warriors lost their spark in attack and, despite Fien's try, were outplayed in the second half.

"We just stopped playing footy I think, we didn't put enough pressure on with the ball and they just had nothing to lose coming back like that," Warriors coach Ivan Clearly said.

"It was disappointing but it's a bit of a lesson for us."

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