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Team in Focus | Newcastle Knights

The NSWRL is shining the spotlight on the 2019 Jersey Flegg Cup, selecting a weekly shortlist of the top five tries from every team in the top eight. Our team in focus this week are 2019’s seventh-placed Newcastle Knights. Check here every weekday for rolling coverage of the top five countdown.

The Knights started the year off with a tough draw, going down to top eight teams like the Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders but recorded their first win against the St George Dragons in Round four.

Throughout the season, the team included a star-studded line-up of now regular NRL starters like Bradman Best and Tex Hoy, which helped the side notch wins against the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Some memorable moments for the side came in Round 6 when Hoy scored a hat-trick against the North Sydney Bears and Best did the same in Round 22 against the very same team.

At the end of 24 rounds, the Novocastrians finished the regular season in seventh position on the ladder and were beaten by the Bulldogs in a close 22-18 encounter in Week One of the Finals series, yet they managed to defeat the same side 32-20 back in Round nine.


Knights number five try

The Knights number five try came in Round 6 against the Bears when the team was 15 metres out from the try line and shifted the ball out to the right wing in the fourteenth minute.

Winger Justin Worley still had some work to do as there were two defenders infront of him but Worley had a strong palm on him and fended them away then showed great athleticism to stay within the field of play and put the ball down in the corner as he was suspended mid-air.


Knights number four try

Try number four was courtesy of centre Tex Hoy when Newcastle faced the Bears at North Sydney Oval.

Just five minutes into the second half the Knights put on a shift play to the right edge as Hoy caught the ball with three defenders in front of him.

From there Hoy decided to take them on himself, skipping through two would-be tacklers before stepping around the fullback to score his second try of the match.


Knights number three try

To see opposing centres starting and finishing a try is a rarity in modern-day rugby league, but that’s exactly what the Knights did in Round 4 against St George Illawarra Dragons.

In the 61st minute as Newcastle were looking for options on the left-hand side, metres from the try-line, centre Bradman Best pushed onto the ball at an infield angle.

Best ran across the face of the Dragons’ defence and handed off possession to five-eighth Dylan Lucas, flicking an offload to a charging Kingston Puru who then passed to right centre Timanu Alexander for the finish.


Knights number two try

Number two in Newcastle’s top five tries came in their high-scoring 36-32 victory over South Sydney in Round 23 – a 65th-minute Cameron Davies matchwinner.

Knights lock Joe Bromage made a hit-up from 40 metres out, taking the brunt of a two-man tackle yet managing to find an offload for five-eighth Grant Anderson.

Anderson muscled his way past a trio of tacklers then fooled the last defender with an inside ball for halves partner Davies to dive under the posts and put the result beyond doubt.


Knights number one try

It won’t come as a surprise that Bradman Best now has a regular spot in Newcastle’s first-grade side after what he produced in 2019, including an 80-metre solo try to take out the number one spot in the Knights’ top five.

In Round 5 against the Sea Eagles, halfback Bayden Searle threw the ball to Best with room to move in his own 20-metre zone.

Best fended off the first and second defenders to break through the line on the left edge and was too strong for the fullback as he strolled beneath the uprights to score – just one of the centre’s four-try haul for the afternoon.