Newcastle players celebrate after beating St George-Illawarra at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
Newcastle players celebrate after beating St George-Illawarra at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday. DARREN PATEMAN

Newcastle down Dragons to put end to Knightmare

RUGBY LEAGUE: Newcastle have ended an eight-match losing streak with an 21-14 upset over St George Illawarra at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

With the game in the balance at 14-all with eight minutes to go, Jacob Saifiti scored a try to put the home side ahead with experienced halfback Trent Hodkinson putting the icing on the cake with a 79th minute field goal to send the 15,031-strong crowd into raptures.

It was a case of ninth time lucky for the Knights who had lost all previous eight games this year when leading at half-time - the most of any team in the NRL era.

Dragons centre Joshua Dugan reacts following his side's loss to Newcastle on Saturday.
Dragons centre Joshua Dugan reacts following his side's loss to Newcastle on Saturday. DARREN PATEMAN

The loss is a huge blow for the Dragons who are teetering on the edge of the top eight with the likes of Penrith and Canberra breathing down their neck.

Adding to the Dragons' frustrations, they lost State of Origin backrower Tyson Frizell to an ankle injury in the final minutes of the game.

Seven errors in the first half put the Dragons under immense pressure.

When a Josh McCrone grubber gifted the Knights a seven-tackle set, they marched down field with a kick and regather from Brock Lamb putting the Novocastrians ahead.

Jacob Saifiti scores for the Knights during their Round 21 win over the Dragons.
Jacob Saifiti scores for the Knights during their Round 21 win over the Dragons. DARREN PATEMAN

Minutes later they had their second on the back of another Dragons error when a Lamb bomb was caught superbly by Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

The Dragons made use of their own seven-tackle set midway through the first half when they forced a dropout, and in the ensuing set, crossed the white strip when Joel Thompson put Paul Vaughan over for his sixth try of the season.

Two controversial bunker calls cost the Dragons towards the end of the first half.

Tim Lafai was denied after Nightingale was ruled to have knocked on in the contest for a bomb, before a 90-metre effort from Nene Macdonald was called back after Frizell was ruled to have interfered in the lead-up.

Dragons forward Tariq Sims scores a try during his side's loss to Newcastle.
Dragons forward Tariq Sims scores a try during his side's loss to Newcastle. DARREN PATEMAN

But it was third time lucky for the Red V who struck on half-time when fullback-turned-centre Josh Dugan ran across field and popped a ball to former Knight Tariq Sims who bulldozed his way over.

The first points of the second half came by way of a Gareth Widdop penalty goal in the 60th minute to level the scores at 14-all.



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