Knights continue to impress to record third win of the NRL season.
The Newcastle Knights became just the second side to overcome a half-time deficit this season, as they rolled over the top of the Canberra Raiders 28-12 at Hunter Stadium.
Apart from a 15 minute dip in play in the first half, the Knights showed excellent discipline with the ball in hand to score 18 answered points in the second stanza.
Twenty one-year-old halfback Tyrone Roberts, who has been sensational in the past fortnight for the Knights, said the side took the confidence from their thumping of North Queensland the week before into their clash with the Raiders.
“We didn’t change anything this week, we just wanted to do the little things right,” Roberts said.
“We have done well because of the hard running of the forwards and we just play off the back of that
“I’m happy with how I’m playing, I have been working hard during the off season, and the confidence the guys have in me helps me play well.
Canberra, who have yet to win a game away from the nation’s capital after four rounds, simply did not respect the ball, completing just 63 per cent of their sets.
“They were good we knew coming here they would have enthusiasm,” Tom Learoy-Lahrs said of the Knights.
“But the start they got on us hurt and then they got away from us in the second half.
“In patches we looked like the side we want to be, but as for a 80 minute performance we are still a long way but if you turn over that much ball against any side in this comp they’re going to hurt you.”
The Knights recieved a boost before the game with Kurt Gidley and Willie Mason returning from injury.
Newcastle’s Alex McKinnon butchered a golden chance at the first try with Akuila Uate screaming for the ball on his outside and unmarked.
The home side did manage to open the scoring when a perfectly-weighted cross field kick by Jarrod Mullen found Uate who raced around to score under the posts.
Given the Raiders had conceded the first points in 11 of their last 12 games, the fact they were playing from behind was not new to them.
Blake Ferguson looked to have hit back when he latched onto a perfect pass from Josh McCrone, only for interference to be ruled earlier in the play.
Newcastle survived a video referee decision to see Anthony Quinn score his 86th career try, as the Knights took a stranglehold of the game at 10-0.
Despite a completion rate of just above 50 per cent, Joel Thompson scrambled well to, questionably, touch down a grubber kick just inside the dead-ball line, with Croker’s conversion cutting the lead to four.
Newcastle’s lead evaporated when Josh Papalli shrugged off two defenders to turn the game on its head in the shadows of half-time, with the visitors edging ahead 12-10.
The home side’s chances of victory took a hit when Gidley did not retake the field in the second half due to a concussion.
Canberra had its own injury concerns when winger Jack Wighton came down heavily on his left arm and wrist when attempting to diffuse a bomb
Roberts scored his second try for the season, as he ghosted through the Canberra
defensive line to make it 16-12 as Newcastle began to take control of the game.
Canberra then compounded their problems when Reece Robinson’s restart went out on the full, but the Raiders managed to defend their line
Adam Cuthbertson showed great strength to hit and spin his way over the line to touch down next to the uprights.
The Raiders again started to become their own worst enemies with turnovers coming back to haunt them in the form of points, with the Knights conversion seeing the lead grow to 10.
Thompson crossed for what looked to be his second try for the game but he was denied thanks to an excellent tackle by McKinnon.
Canberra would have been right back in the game if Thompson did not lose control of the ball as he attempted to ground it.
Newcastle ground away in the later stages as they deprived the Raiders the ball in dangerous areas of the field.
The rout was complete when a tired and listless Canberra defence failed to stop Cuthbertson, who crossed for his second for the night, the first time he has scored a double since 2008 when he played for Manly.