Category: Knights

Gidley ruled out

Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley has been ruled out of the Knights’ round two clash with North Queensland with a back injury in a major blow ahead of Saturday night’s clash. Gidley was forced from the field with back spasms during the Knight’s 42-8 win over Penrith on Sunday. He was cleared of any serious damage after undergoing scans on Monday and named at fullback on Tuesday. But the Knights today decided to take no risks with the injury responding slower than expected to treatment. Gidley has been replaced by former Wests Tigers fullback Shannon McDonnell. Newcastle spokeswoman Michelle Smit said Gidley was only ever a 50 per cent chance of playing when Rick Stone named the side. “He was hoping the back would have settled down by now, but it hasn’t responded as well as he hoped so he’s out,” she said.

De Gois injury given the thumbs down

Newcastle’s bright start to the NRL season has quickly been grounded, with crafty hooker Isaac De Gois undergoing surgery for a broken thumb. As the worst fears for star recruit Neville Costigan were also confirmed, De Gois went under the knife on Monday afternoon and could miss a month of football. The Knights shot to an early season first place on the ladder with Sunday’s resounding 42-8 win over Penrith but now head to Townsville to play North Queensland without De Gois, Costigan and possibly captain Kurt Gidley. Coach Rick Stone had been hopeful De Gois had jarred the thumb at Centrebet Stadium. “He’s got a fracture at the base of his thumb which is going to keep him out for three to four weeks,” Stone told AAP. Costigan, a premiership winner with St George Illawarra last year, will miss 3-4 months. “He’s really disappointed, Nev, he had a big pre-season, first game for the club,” Stone said. “He leads a lot with his actions and he had brought a bit of that toughness to us. Continue reading

Knights win, but add to mounting NRL injury toll

Newcastle made a flying start to the new NRL season with a 42-8 thumping of Penrith at Centrebet Stadium on Sunday. The Knights showed great fluency in attack, with halfback Jarrod Mullen scoring a try and laying on a couple more in a dominant display. The quality of their performance suggests the Knights could be surprise packets this year, but they won’t want to get too carried away given the Panthers’ ineptitude. Early indications are it could be a long season for Penrith, who finished second in 2010. Matt Elliott’s men could barely get out of first gear and looked toothless in attack – with their only try coming from Lachlan Coote after the fulltime siren had sounded. The home side made a whopping 21 errors and conceded four penalties for indiscretions off restarts. Three were for being offside kick-offs and drop outs and one after booting out dead-on-the-full. Newcastle coach Rick Stone couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season performance-wise, but he has come out of the match with some injury worries. Continue reading

Henry, the new Knight in shining armour

The Knights have ended weeks of speculation by naming new recruit Beau Henry at five-eighth for Newcastle’s opening round clash of the NRL against Penrith. Henry and Ben Rogers had been duelling for the No.6 spot but the former Dragon won out and will partner Jarrod Mullen in the halves for the Knights. “Working with Jarrod has been great,” Henry said. “Each day we’re combining better, learning each others’ game and hopefully we can show this to our fans on Sunday afternoon.” “My whole family will be in Penrith to watch me play, they’ve put in the hard work since I was playing juniors so I’m really glad that I can make my debut in front of them.” Henry, 21, was the 2009 Toyota Cup Player of the Year for St George Illawarra but suffered a setback in 2010 with a shoulder injury. However, the Wollongong junior underwent surgery and worked overtime in the off-season to start at the Knights on the front foot. “I’ve worked hard in the last eight months as I came back from a shoulder reconstruction,” he said. “I didn’t think that I would be ready for Round 1 so to be ahead of schedule is something I’m happy about.” Continue reading

1. Anthony Mitchell (Eels) – The Eels have struggled to find a regular dummy-half in recent years but with the emergence of 21-year-old Anthony Mitchell in late 2010 their search could soon be over. The highly-rated young hooker boasts all the skills – lightning service, a crisp passing game and speed off the mark. Likely to be part of a three-man rotation for the Eels this year, he will battle for the No.9 jersey with Matt Keating and new arrival Casey McGuire but the general consensus is that the hooking spot will become his alone in the long term. Mitchell played three games for the Eels at the back end of the 2010 season, scoring two tries, and was selected in the Indigenous All Stars side earlier this year.

2. Siuatonga Likiliki (Knights) – Boasting one of the greatest names in rugby league history – right up there with the likes of former Bronco Steele Retchless and South Sydney’s Bronco Djura – Siuatonga Likiliki made a name for himself playing for the Warriors’ premiership-winning Toyota Cup side last season when he scored 19 tries in 25 games. Now with Newcastle, the 20-year-old speedster already has tongues wagging in the Hunter where he will join Akuila Uate in a lightning-fast backline. A Junior Kiwis representative in 2010, Likiliki was named in both the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Cup Team of the Year. Continue reading

Tafua to miss the first few rounds

Knights enforcer Mark Taufua has escaped the surgeon’s knife but will miss the first few games of Newcastle’s NRL campaign as he recovers from tendon damage in his little finger. The former NSW Country rugby union representative suffered the injury playing for Central Coast Centurions, Newcastle’s NSW Cup feeder team, in a trial against Newcastle Rugby League club Western Suburbs at Tomaree Oval on Sunday. Knights sports physician Neil Halpin said Taufua had ruptured the extensor tendon in the little finger on his right hand. ‘‘These injuries often heal without surgery so we’ll splint it and let it heal like that, so he’d be looking at four to six weeks,’’ Dr Halpin said. The 29-year-old utility forward is unavailable for Newcastle’s NRL season-opener against Penrith at Centrebet Stadium on March 13, and away games against North Queensland on March 19 and Manly on March 27, but hopes to be back to tackle reigning premiers St George Illawarra at Ausgrid (formerly EnergyAustralia) Stadium on April 3. Continue reading

Knights 32 – Sharks 10

Newcastle have shown their willingness to play attacking rugby league, scoring six tries in a 32-10 trial win over Cronulla at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook on Saturday night. Although the first points were not posted until the 26th minute the crowd of around 4,000 witnessed on open and expansive game of rugby league on a balmy night in the Upper Hunter Valley. Knights try-scoring sensation Akuila Uate carried two defenders across the line to open the scoring. Kurt Gidley converted for a 6-0 lead with Junior Sa’u extending the home side’s lead to 10-0 two minutes before the break. Knights hooker Isaac De Gois scored a double as did Sa’u. Gidley’s fullback deputy Shannon McDonnell scored on 52 minutes to take the score to 22-0 before the Sharks first try, to fullback Nathan Gardner, on the hour. Matt Wright scored another consolation try for the Sharks on the full-time siren.

Panthers V Knight report

A late try to the Penrith Panthers against the Newcastle Knights on Saturday night gave the Panthers a victory in Port Macquarie. Early tries to Panthers’ Sandor Earl and Kevin Kingston gave the men from the mountains a 10-nil lead just ten minutes into the game. Lock Mark Taufua made his way accross the white line to score for the Knights, a conversion from Wes Naiqama put the Novacastrians on the score board. Another Penrith try and a Michael Gordon conversion took the first quarter score to 16-6. After a number of pushes in the Panthers half, hooker Isaac De Gois narrowed the margin to 16-10. In the 33rd minute fullback Shannon McDonnell was tackled mid air by Penrith’s Travis Burns, McDonnell left the field and watched the remainder of the game from the sideline. With Naiqama moved to fullback, impressive young recruit Siuatonga Likiliki made his way onto the field. The second half saw tries to Evarn Tuimavave and Marvin Karawana, with successful conversions by Peter Mata’utia and Cory Paterson taking the knights to 16-22. Penrith came back in the final three minutes with two tries and two successful conversions, making the final score 28-22.

Once the season proper starts I will be looking at each team and some of their key players as we get closer to the start of the silly season – the bye rounds and I’ll use “Dream Team Pro” so at least their will be a bit more information and statistics than last year.

Every year round 9 has a huge impact on coaches with ½ the NRL clubs (8) having their first bye round.  No doubt everyone has had a good look at bye rounds when developing a strategy for the 2011 campaign and finalising your 25-man squad before the round 1 kick of on March 11. 

There is no point in talking about individual players before there is some form on the board so I’ll just point out a couple of other things for the newer coaches to Dream Team that you will need to take into consideration when finalising on your squad.  Continue reading

Knights demolish Fiji

Newcastle made light work of Fiji Bati as the Knights opened their 2011 NRL pre-season with a 72-0 thumping at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday night. Playing before a crowd of just under 3,000, the Knights ran in 14 unanswered tries against the overmatched opponents, whose squad contained 14 players who had never before been out of Fiji. The Knights have developed a link with the Fijian rugby league association in recent times, with the NRL club helping with the development of the game on the tiny Pacific island. Peter Mata’utia was the star of the show for the home side with two tries and three goals, the young fullback one of 12 try-scorers with Josh Ailaomai also scoring a double. Running out a side featuring a smattering of regular first graders, the Knights were in control from the outset with prop Antonio Kaufusi particularly dominant – though Fiji gave as good as they got with the match punctuated by a series of big hits from both packs. Continue reading