Western Suburbs Magpies have fought back from 16-0 down to beat the Newcastle Knights 34-22 in today’s Intrust Super Premiership game at Leichhardt Oval.
Despite a host of first-grade experience in the midst for Brett Hodgson’s side, it was the Magpies on the back foot early with several errors and penalties — Newcastle mounting several attacking sets on the Wests’ line. The hosts did well to hold on for several sets, before the Knights eventually broke the line through Brodie Jones after 13 minutes, with Ken Sio converting from next to the posts to give the visitors a 6-0 advantage.
As Wests continued to struggle with errors and ill-discipline in the heat at Leichhardt Oval, it was the visitors who doubled their advantage soon after as Christian Hazard broke through the left edge defence of the Magpies before throwing a flick pass for Brent Naden to score.
Sio was unable to convert this time, leaving the Knights’ lead at 10-0.
A strong run from Sauaso Sue put Wests on the front foot and gave his side the chance to eat in to Newcastle’s lead soon after, but a poor kick ran dead and gave Newcastle a let-off and a seven tackle set to work the ball downfield. And off the back of another penalty for the visitors, it was Sam Stone who pushed the Knights’ lead to 16-0 — crashing over on a short ball from Cogger next to the posts to give Sio an easy conversion.
As they started to put completions together, Wests soon fought their way back into the game through Braden Robson as he took advantage of tired markers close to the posts to dart over and score before Mahe Fonua made it two tries in five minutes off a cross-field kick from Drinkwater to cut the Knights’ lead to just six points.
Drinkwater was unable to convert from out wide, however, leaving the score at 16-10.
Coming out of the break, it was Tyson Gamble who continued his impressive start under Coach Hodgson— producing a lovely stab kick under the posts for Watson Heleta to fly through and level the match. Drinkwater had no problems converting to level the match, before the Magpies sensationally pulled in front as Taane Milne crossed out wide.
Drinkwater showed great touch to convert from out wide, taking the score to 22-16.
Having watched their commanding lead disappear, Newcastle did well to fight back in to the contest with Jack Cogger linking up with Sio on the left edge to level the score again.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, Wests pulled back in front through an unlikely try-scorer — Tim Grant showing great support to back up and crash over the line after Drinkwater broke the game open. The halfback converted to restore the Magpies’ lead to 28-22, before Robson grabbed his second try of the game in the final minutes to seal the win for the home side at Leichhardt Oval.
Western Suburbs Magpies 34 (Robson 2, Fonua, Heleta, Milne, Grant tries; Drinkwater 5/6 goals) def. Newcastle Knights 22 (Jones, Naden, Stone, Sio tries; Sio 3/4 goals)