10 Jun 2012

Knights crash to 32-16 NRL loss to Raiders

8:41 am on 10 June 2012

The Newcastle Knights season of misery continued last night when they fell meekly to a 32-16 defeat to the Canberra Raiders at home, leaving Newcastle just two points off last place in the National Rugby League standings.

Both sides entered the match in poor form and with coaches under immense pressure.

Canberra had lost five of their past six, including an incredible 40-nil loss to Wests Tigers at home last round, while Newcastle had conceded 50 points in their last start at Brisbane.

But it was the Raiders who shot out of the blocks, makeshift five-eighth Josh Dugan setting up tries to Edrick Lee and Joel Thompson in the opening ten minutes to open up a 12-nil lead.

A penalty goal to Jarrod Croker, who kicked six from six, extended the lead to 14 before the Knights were sparked into action.

Dane Gagai and Willie Mason both crossed to pull the home team within eight at halftime.

In the end it was a fortuitous penalty which gifted the Knights their best opportunity, and they made the most of it - James McManus scoring out wide to reduce the deficit to just four.

But a comical play-the-ball error from Kade Snowden soon after the kickoff led to a Trevor Thurling try with just over 15 minutes to play, while Lee sprinted 70 metres to ice the game with his second try five minutes from time.