ISP NSW Report: Newcastle v Wyong
An enthusiastic crowd have witnessed a convincing Wyong Roos victory over the Newcastle Knights to cap off a memorable day of Rugby League at Woy Woy Oval.
Scoring opportunities were hard to come by for either side in the opening stanza; some strong scrambling defence from both teams kept the scoreline to nil after 30 minutes. Errors were partly to blame as well: a number of wayward passes and mistimed bombs saw the few attacking chances blown for both the Knights and Roos.
Eventually, however, the Newcastle defence cracked as a beautiful Tyler Cornish grubber found a racing Brendan Elliot centimetres from the dead ball line. Cornish then converted the try from close to the posts and the Roos had the edge with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
The Roos soon earned a repeat set and suddenly looked to have all the momentum.
Chris Centrone was next to cross in the shadows of half-time as a wild cut-out ball found him in plenty of space on the left hand edge, again converted by Cornish - before Cornish slotted an easy penalty goal as the siren sounded. It had the Roos 14 points up at the break, despite a thoroughly hard-fought battle for the majority.
A stirring speech from Knights coach Matt Lantry may have been the cause of a much improved start to the second half, as Knights late inclusion Ben Stone crossed via some brilliant lead-up play from the Newcastle attack. Donavan converted the kick to make the score 14-6 just three minutes into the second stanza.
Wyong passed up the opportunity to take the two points from in front of the posts in the 60th minute and it was looking like something they'd regret after another costly error, when Newcastle marched upfield and applied pressure on the Roos' defence. Dominic Reardon, however, made up for it by muscling the ball from Knights centre James Elias, breaking two tackles to race 80 metres and score under the posts. Once again converted by Cornish, it gave the Roos a 20-6 lead.
They doubled up on it just two minutes later with a huge run from prop Paki Afu, who barged over to score extend the lead to 18 - which remained after the missed conversion.
The game was all but over when Afu crossed with 10 minutes remaining - but having been ruled to have made a double movement it gave the Knights the slightest glimmer of hope in the game's closing stages. They looked to make the most of it and throw the ball around, but it wasn't enough and three minutes later the Roos' Connor Watson made a break and scored a very nice try.
Both teams showed intent to score again before full-time, but in the end Wyong ran out convincing 28-6 winners.
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