In a riveting contest at McDonald Jones Stadium, Edrick Lee made his mark and delivered the Newcastle Knights a win over the Cronulla Sharks.
Rugby league is a funny game and in the space of three minutes, Lee went from a villain to a hero.
A controversial decision to award the Sharks a penalty try locked the scores up at 8-apiece with less than 10 minutes to go.
Lee was adjudged to have taken out Katoa as the Sharks winger made an effort to get to a grubber to score.
The hulking winger who was a former Sharks player himself, then nabbed a loose Chad Townsend pass for an intercept.
The rest, as they say, is history. Lee coasted away to score and sealed the 14-8 win for the Knights.
In what was a borefest or a defensive onslaught in the first half – depending who you talk to, it was not until the 69th minute that the first try was scored.
It came from an unlikely source in new signing and lock Tim Glasby, who took a Mitchell Pearce short pass and sliced through the defence.
It was a strong performance overall from Glasby, with the decision to start him at lock surprising many.
Both sides had tries looked at by the bunker, only for them to not be awarded as they went tit-for-tat.
As they looked to score, defence reigned supreme for much of the game, leading to errors and bad decisions.
The game then saw the aforementioned controversial moment with Lee and Katoa before the Knights faithful were on their feet.
An unlikely hero in Lee gave the Knights a great start to their 2019 campaign.
Ending an eight-game losing streak with this win over the Sharks, coach Nathan Brown hit back at comments made by Paul Gallen.
“Gal’s made some comments, and he was probably saying what a lot of good, hardened forwards have probably thought of us …,” Brown explained.
“Gal’s not frightened to say what he thinks, but I’d be more interested to see what Gal thinks of us now.
“It would be interesting to see if he thinks we’re an improved footy side.”
Brown praised his side’s resolute defence, with their only try the controversial penalty try decision.
“To only have a penalty try scored against us against the Sharks is a big plus for our club, from where we’ve been,” Brown said.
Sharks coach Nathan Brown knows all about the Knights; he was a local junior and debuted with the Novocastrian side.
Now facing off against them as a coach, Morris admits that poor handling let his side down.
“You can’t expect to win any game making 12 errors. We completed at about 65 per cent,” Morris said.
“It wasn’t just the errors, it was the tackles they happened on too.
“We had two off a scrum and didn’t field a kick-off, so there’s 18 plays you just throw straight into the bin.
“We just couldn’t apply the pressure that we came here to do.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Tim Glasby
2. David Klemmer
- Andrew Fifita