16/04/2024

The Newcastle Knights make it back-to-back in the NRLW (Image: Newcastle Knights Twitter)

The Newcastle Knights made it two-from-two after a strong defensive performance saw them defeat the Gold Coast Titans 16-12 in Round Two of the NRLW Premiership Season.

The Gold Coast Titans were looking to bounce back from a defeat away to the St George-Illawarra Dragons last week. They faced a determined Newcastle Knights side who won their first match at home to the Brisbane Broncos.

The Titans started strong with some brutal defence in their own half but their own offensive mistakes would tell, a knock on lead to an opportunity for the Knights. Newcastle punished that mistake as Autumn-Rain Stephens Daly crossed out wide to score the Knights first of the night.

Tamika Upton was strong at the back for Newcastle early, as she denied the Titans a try off a Kimiora Breayley-Nati kick.

However this didn’t last long as a determined Evania Pelite had a hand in getting Zara Canfield her first try in the league.

Newcastle looked all but set to score, until some desperate defence from Hagiga Mosby stopped the Knights’ left edge attack.

A crash play from Newcastle for Millie Boyle almost sent the Knights over for their second of the match. But, it was Newcastle’s desperate defence, this time from Brittany Breayley-Nati, which kept them out.

The match went back-and-forth in the midway point of the first half, as both sides earned penalties while on the attack, respectively.

This time it was Newcastle who would make sure they crossed this time with Emma Manzelmann taking advantage of missing Gold Coast markers from the play the ball, as she crossed right next to the posts.

From there, Newcastle started to dominate the match, as Manzelmann again managed to find a gap through the Titans defence on their 40-metre line. She linked up with Upton, who scored her first try in Knights’ colours.

Both sides made mistakes as their completion rates suffered in the first 35 minutes.

However, the Titans made error after error as they invited pressure on their goal line. They managed to hold out, while the Knights took a 10 point lead into halftime, as they led 16-6 over the Titans.

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The Titans goal-line defence held strong to begin the second half, as the match settled into a back-and-forth rhythm.

However, a Gold Coast mistake put Newcastle back onto the attack, which the Titans scramble defence managed to hold out again.

The Titans did their best to get back into the match, as they worked their way out of trouble from their own line many times.

However, more mistakes from the Gold Coast meant they couldn’t build their own pressure on Newcastle. Their defence held strong as the score remained 16-6 with 15 minutes to go.

A rare second half Newcastle mistake meant the Gold Coast had some good field position to attack.

They capitalised as Georgia Hale pulled out a no-look pass to send Stephanie Hancock over untouched. Lauren Brown sent the conversion over to reduce the deficit to four points with just over 10 minutes to play.

The Titans looked for a way to score late, but with three minutes to go, the Knights defence forced a Gold Coast mistake inside their defensive 20.

Canfield was sent to the sin bin with just under two minutes to go after a high tackle on Upton. Worryingly for Newcastle, she left the field injured.

At the end of the match, the Newcastle Knights held on as they made it a perfect two-from-two to start the season, their first back-to-back wins in their history. Conversely for the Gold Coast Titans, they have lost their opening two matches.

Newcastle host the winless Parramatta Eels next week, while the Gold Coast face the bottom-of-the-ladder Broncos.

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