The Newcastle Knights not only kept their NRL Top 8 dream alive for 2008, but they put on a stylish performance to kill off a fairytale finish for the South Sydney Rabbitohs after a nice 39-12 win yesterday at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
With a bumper home crowd of 23,182 – Newcastle looks a happy place. Forget the White Knights and dramas of last year; Brian Smith has built a rock solid defensive unit out of rubble up in Newcastle. The likes of John Singleton and Jack Newton should come out and officially apologise to Smith; the man has worked wonders and the coach and team deserve a Top 8 reward this season no doubt.
In an open game, which took 20 minutes to really get going, the Knights took the the game by the scruff of the neck with Kurt Gidley causing the Bunnies problems with most touches of the football.
An Akuila Uate try after 21 minutes was followed by an easy Gidley try set up by Danny Buderus soon after.
Nathan Merritt put the Rabbitohs back in it with a try close to the post but two tries to Adam McDougall, one apiece to Chris Houston, Cameron Ciraldo and Mark Karawana and another to Uate sealed the deal for the Knights.
Merritt scored again for the Rabbitohs but it was a sound Newcastle performance that will give the club hope of climbing into the top eight.