In a tough, bruising contest, the Newcastle Knights have kickstarted their premiership defence with a 32-16 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons. 

It was a game that had a bit of everything as players had plenty to prove in the opening round with teammates waiting in the wings.

On the back of a penalty conceded by the Dragons, the Knights would open the scoring when Olivia Higgins found a rampaging Tayla Predebon who dived over to score.

The momentum was all with the Knights in the early exchanges when Tamika Upton took the line on and found Yasmin Clydsdale with a perfect pass for the back-rower to split the defence and score.

A head clash between Knights’ teammates Rima Butler and Laishon Albert-Jones saw a reshuffle for the Knights in the forward pack.

That would not deter the Knights from scoring again, however, as Kayla Romaniuk then crashed over to score from close range.

Not to be put off by the deficit, the Dragons were able to grab a try on the cusp of half-time when Teagan Berry split the Dragons defence to score her first try.

The second half started with a flurry as both sides went end-to-end and back-and-forth.

It would be the Knights who would score the opening try here as well, though, via Jasmin Strange.

Strange’s try came courtesy of a harbour bridge pass from half Caitlin Moran.

Moran would again be involved her second try assist, this time grubbering through for Abigail Roache to score.

The Dragons would get a second try and it was Berry once again.

Trapping a low grubber, she scooped the ball up and raced 90m to score, showing everyone why many regard her as the fastest in the game.

The next set would see the Dragons go over again, as Tyla Nathan-Wong stepped and weaved her way inside some defenders.

The win would be sealed by the Knights, though, when star half Jesse Southwell sidestepped defenders to score a try.

Newcastle Knights 32 (Predebon, Clydsdale, Romaniuk, Strange, Roache & Southwell; Goals: Southwell 4) def. St George Illawarra Dragons 16 (Berry 2, Nathan-Wong; Goals: Bright 1, Nathan-Wong 1).

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Tamika Upton (NEW)

2. Teagan Berry (SGI)

1. Yasmin Clydsdale (NEW)

By ricky

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