It was possibly the scrapiest game of NRL 2010 with the Knights pinching a win on full time to pip the Eels 6-4 in super slippery conditions at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
Most of the excitement for this one came early, with all eyes on Timana Tahu after his shock Origin exit.
The former Knight didn’t disappoint, exploding with high shots and craziness as he caused a boilover in the opening minutes.
Unable to control his aggression, the referees had no option but to send Tahu to the sin bin for 10 minutes. One feels that if Tahu wasn’t sent off or binned, he would have seriously injured someone.
That was close to the most interesting part of the game early, with both sides struggling badly in the wet. Completions were virtually non-existent and even when Hayne or Gidley got to their kicks, several time the players slipped over making things laughable.
But despite poor handling and limited opportunities, the low scoring, close affair kept viewers interested.
Gidley looked most likely to linebreak for his side and for the Eels, their chances came through sustained offloads.
As Newcastle gained more metres up the middle they simply couldn’t hang onto the ball in Eels territory. Parramatta had slightly better hands but weren’t getting enough thrust from their forwards.
Substitute Tim Mannah along with Justin Poore game some much improved go forward for the Eels, but it wasn’t until Justin Horo slid over midway through the second half that the scoreboard attendant got any work.
Horo was used in the centres for a good part of the game, with Eric Grothe injured early and spending the remainder of the match on the bench.
The Knights too had their problems in the backs, their usually speedy outside men struggling with the rain and potential injuries as key man Uate seemed to be limping at stages, never getting out of 2nd gear.
Newcastle threatened more than the Eels in the 2nd term, with several raids looking certain to net tries – only for scrambling Parramatta defence to thwart the chances.
With Luke Burt missing the single try conversion, then later a penalty from 40m out – it was to prove costly.
Parramatta unable to stop a late Newcastle chance right in the corner and Gidley kicking from the sideline in the wet to win the game.
The win gives the Knights a slim chance of slipping into the finals if they can continue their winning ways. While the loss didn’t see the Eels lose a position on the ladder, they will rue the one that got away and are seemingly losing touch with a chance to nab a position in the Top half of the 8.
Parramatta are at home to the Broncos next week and the Knights have a tough road trip to the Gold Coast facing the Titans.