Newcastle Knights hold off Wests Tigers 14-10, North Queensland Cowboys defeat Canterbury Bulldogs 28-14 – Michmutters

Newcastle Knights hold off Wests Tigers 14-10, North Queensland Cowboys defeat Canterbury Bulldogs 28-14

Newcastle has alleviated pressure on under-fire coach Adam O’Brien, holding on for their first victory in more than a month with a 14-10 win over Wests Tigers.

In Sunday’s earlier match, North Queensland consolidated second place on the ladder with a 28-14 win victory over Canterbury in Bundaberg.

After leading 14-0 at halftime, the Knights were forced to protect a two-point lead through a nervous final 16 minutes at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

They did it without David Klemmer, who remained sidelined following last week’s controversial incident involving a Newcastle trainer.

The victory marked their first since round 16, while it was just the club’s third success since April.

And it came after a week where pressure had intensified on O’Brien as the embattled club dealt with the fallout from the Klemmer drama, the Knights’ poor form and the coach’s post-match press conference after their loss to Canterbury

But it did not come easy.

After keeping their 14-point lead through to the 53rd minute, the Knights cracked when Dominic Young failed to take an Adam Doueihi bomb and Brent Naden collected it on the bounce to score

With 17 minutes to play it was 14-10 when Jock Madden put on a nice long ball to send Asu Kepaoa over, as the Tigers enjoyed the majority of the play on the Knights’ line.

With 30 seconds left the Tigers received a set restart for a ruck infringement on the last tackle of the set, giving them four more plays to try to snatch the game.

One play was wasted when Jock Madden opted not to pass, Fa’amanu Brown ran another straight out of dummy-half and Daine Laurie dropped the final chance on the siren to end the match.

Realistically, it summed up a frustrating afternoon for the Tigers.

After pushing North Queensland a fortnight ago and beating Brisbane last week, the joint-venture club was back to looking like the team that sits 15th on the ladder.

The Tigers missed 39 tackles and their only linebreaks came in Kepaoa’s try and from Kelma Tualagi in the last minute to put them on the attack.

They were also clearly beaten out of the blocks, as Enari Tuala bagged a double on the left wing courtesy of a Jake Clifford grubberkick and pass

Tex Hoy also brushed Adam Doueihi aside for another first-half try, creating something out of nothing to help set up a 14-0 halftime lead.

Still, the result would have come as a serious relief for O’Brien as the Knights kicked clear of the wooden-spoon battle and left the Tigers still dueling it out with Gold Coast.

Cowboys continue charge

North Queensland have consolidated their push towards a top-two NRL finish with a grinding 28-14 win over Canterbury in Bundaberg.

The Bulldogs, chasing a third straight win under interim coach Mick Potter, tested the second-placed Cowboys for nearly the duration of the contest before running out of gas on a warm day in sub-tropical Queensland.

Luciano Leilua's hair flies around as he palms off an opponent while running with the ball
The Cowboys burst away from the Bulldogs in the second half.(Getty Images: Albert Perez)

They led 14-12 when Jacob Kiraz soared above Scott Drinkwater to set up Kyle Flanagan early in the second half, firing back after Valentine Holmes kicked a penalty goal to edge them in front, but North Queensland’s forwards then came to the fore.

Powering through the middle with the wind at their backs, Jason Taumalolo, Luciano Leilua and Reuben Cotter sucked two, three and sometimes four tacklers into the ruck to open up space for their edges.

Leilua was the first to benefit on the left edge with 63 minutes played as he charged through three tacklers and scored his first try in Cowboys colours.

Reece Robson zipped out of the ruck in the 69th minute after Cotter’s barnstorming run for Drinkwater to cross.

Drinkwater then completed a second double in consecutive weeks, with the Bulldogs’ goal line defense opening up for the fullback to score the Cowboys’ third in 10 minutes.

While Drinkwater was in stellar form again it was Todd Payten’s interchange forwards who did the damage, with Cotter and Leilua running for 160 and 132 meters respectively and Griffin Neame scoring their first.

They ran away with the result late on but Sunday’s contest didn’t start easily for the Cowboys.

Holmes put the kick-off to start the match out on the full, and Canterbury’s first attacking set was a success when Matt Burton grubbered at Josh Addo-Carr, who gathered ahead of a hesitant Peta Hiku to open their account.

The Bulldogs then defended their line valiantly as North Queensland peppered their edges with 60 per cent possession through 15 minutes.

Taumalolo’s error in contact then gifted the Bulldogs another attacking set, and this time from a middle scrum Burton got on the outside shoulder of Hiku to score their second in 20 minutes.

But an Addo-Carr penalty and some weak middle defense got the Cowboys rolling and Neame cracked Canterbury’s defenses in the 30th minute.

He charged on to a quick play-the-ball for his second try in as many weeks before his side struck again when Chad Townsend and Leilua combined for the former to score his first try of the season.

North Queensland enjoyed the better territory, possession and run meters all with the wind in their face in the opening half. They attempted a field goal to take a slender lead into the sheds but Townsend missed to the left, leaving it 10-all at the break.



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