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Newcastle crowned Harold Matthews champions

Newcastle centre Fletcher Myers came up with some quick thinking and some even quicker hands to produce a stunning piece of play in the UNE Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final that put the Knights on the path to victory against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

The Knights won the match convincingly in the end 28-8 but it could have been an entirely different story until the match changed complexion in the second half. With the Knights clinging to a 12-8 lead and showing plenty of desperation in defence against a spirited Bulldogs outfit, they found themselves on a rare attacking raid at the other end of the field.

Bulldogs fullback Pharell Zimmerman defused a bomb safely and dropped to the deck before Myers came up with the play of the day. The Knights centre stripped the ball off him while he was laying on the ground before turning around and strolling over to score.

"I just rushed up there, and when I saw it was me and the fullback, I just thought I'm going to take this and try a one on one strip and I pulled it off... bit unusual nowadays, don't mind a one on one strip," Myers said.

"I'm really proud of the boys, the fans won't know but a few of the boys are battling a few injuries out there... they're pretty tough."

It gave the Knights some breathing space at 18-8 and they would add two more tries to Christopher Veaila and Myers again to put the result beyond doubt and seal the decider.

The Knights finished the regular season on top of the table and started the Grand Final with plenty of intent after halfback Jonah Pezet picked up Oryn Keeley on an angled run to barge his way pst the defence and score the opening try of the game.

The Bulldogs gave away a penalty shortly afterwards for a dangerous throw and the Knights took full advantage after hooker Noah Nailagoliva scooted out of dummy-half to score and help extend the lead to 12-0.

The Bulldogs looked like they had their hands full against the monster Knights pack but managed to regroup and strike back after halfback Joseph O’Neill forced a repeat set before centre Paul Alamoti palmed off a defender on his way to the line.

The Bulldogs had another opportunity after Iverson Teo popped a superb around the corner pass for put Trieste Winitana into space but he was unable to evade the last line of defence. They didn’t have to wait long for another opportunity with Alomati getting a late offload away to help pave the way for O’Neill to score and reduce the deficit to 12-8 at halftime.

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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