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Match Report - Round 1 2002

Johns shines against Eagles
16/03/2002, www.news.com.au

NEWCASTLE half Andrew Johns ensured the premiers got their premiership defence off to a solid start at NorthPower Stadium, leading the Knights to a 38-12 win over the Northern Eagles.

The Eagles, on the other hand, have plenty of soul-searching to do after coming into the opening round with some solid pre-season form.

They trailed 20-0 at halftime against a Knights side missing Test stars Adam MacDougall (groin) and Ben Kennedy (shoulder), and were punished time and again by the Knights for some indiscipline in defence and attack.

The Knights looked like knocking up a cricket score when rangy back-rower Clint Newton ran onto an inside ball from Johns only two minutes into the second half to make the score 24-0, the captain's conversion adding another two points.

But the Eagles hit back within five minutes, former Queensland hooker Jamie Goddard made a half-break in the lead-up to the try, and then taking advantage of some loose marking to race out of dummy half and go over in the tackle of former Maroon teammate Clinton O'Brien.

But the Eagles' joy was short-lived as Newcastle hit back, prop Josh Perry beating some feeble defence on his way to the tryline and a 32-6 lead.

Eagles captain Steve Menzies, who remonstrated with referee Mark Oaten several times as his side was on the end of a lopsided penalty count, spoke with Oaten again after the try, which came after the Knights received a penalty for the home side being off-side.

Then Johns took a pass out of dummy half from Peden, sucked in three defenders and threw a stunning flick pass back to Peden to make the score 36-6, his own conversion adding another two points.

The Eagles scored a consolation try with 10 minutes remaining when replacement Sam Murphy scored following a Brad Kelly break, Jason Ferris' conversion making the score 38-12.

NorthPower Stadium
16 March 2002

Eagles 12
(Goddard, Murphy tries, Ferris, Murphy goals)

Newcastle 38
(Buderus, Tahu, Quinn, Newton, Perry & Peden tries; Johns 7 goals)

Crowd: 8082
Referee: M Oaten

Sin Bin: Hopoate
Penalties Newcastle 10-8
Half time: Newcastle 20-0

TEAM:

1 Brendon REEVES
2 Robert MILES
3 Albert TORRENS
4 Ben MacDougall
5 John HOPOATE
6 John MALU
7 Jason FERRIS
8 Nik KOSEF
9 Jamie GODDARD
10 David WESTLEY
11 Nathan LONG
12 Mark SHIPWAY
13 Steven MENZIES (C)

14 Jason KING
15 Wade FORRESTER
16 Brad KELLY
17 Sam MURPHY
18 Shayne DUNLEY
19 Danny LIMA