The Newcastle Knights won 42-8 in a one sided affair against the Dragons at Oki Jubilee Stadium.
The Dragons finals hopes took a big dent early on as Adam MacDougall scored after just 4 minutes from a Blacklock mistake. The Knights followed up with a penalty goal 7 minutes later to lead 8-0.
St George-Illawara recovered to post a try of their own through youngster Ben Creagh. Another Knights try and a Dragons penalty goal took the score to 14-6 in the Knights favour at halftime.
Nathan Brown's instruction to the Dragons to build pressure in the second half fell on deaf ears as the Knights posted their third try of the match through Buderus. It was followed up by another four Knights tries which included a hatrick from Timana Tahu in a dominant second half performance.
The loss for the Dragons now sees their chances of a final spot dead and buried. They'll travel to Brisbane next week playing purely for pride. They won't be entirely disappointed with their season though as injuries have allowed them to blood several youngsters which bodes well for next season.
For the Knights however, it's a different story. They have sealed a spot in the finals although they can finish no higher than 7th. They've weathered the storm without Johns and with Gidley at the helm they are still a genuine threat to the title.
LeagueUnlimited's Player of the Year Awards: 3 - K Gidley (Knights) 2 - T Tahu (Knights) 1 - A MacDougall (Knights)
Sunday 31 August 2003 3:00 PM Kogarah Jubilee Oval Referee: Stephen Clark Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Scorers: DRAGONS 8 Tries: Creagh Goals: Riddell 1/1, Firman 1/2 KNIGHTS 42 Tries: Tahu 3, MacDougall, K.Gidley, Buderus, O'Davis Goals: Abraham 6/7, K.Gidley 1/1
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!
4th min: TRY - Knights. Newcastle put in a kick behind Blacklock who juggled the ball. Adam MacDougall came over the top and appeared to force the ball before Blacklock. The video referee was asked to have a look and ruled that they simultaneously forced the ball which the rule book states is a try to the attacking team. Abraham converts - Knights 6-0.
11th min: PENALTY GOAL - Knights. The Dragons gave away a silly penalty and Abraham slots two points for the Knights - Knights 8-0.
18th min: TRY - Dragons. Tahu was caught in-field giving Cooper plenty of space. The Dragons centre fended off Gidley and then passed to Ben Creagh who scored. Riddell converts - Knights 8-6.
24th min: TRY - Knights. Kurt Gidley stepped past Riddell and bet Hornby to score under the posts. Abraham converts - Knights 14-6.
29th min: NEWS - Despite the Dragons having the better completion rate, the Knights have had all the chances so far in the first half. If it wasn't for a few mistakes they could be up by more.
35th min: NEWS - Newcastle have let St George-Illawara off a number of times with errors, the latest being a forward pass 20 metres out from the Dragons line.
38th min: MISSED PENALTY GOAL - MacDougall gave away a penalty for swearing at the referee and Firman took a shot at goal. He sent it wide and dead forcing the Knights to drop out from their 20 metre line.
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - The Knights were penalised for holding down in the tackle and the Dragons chose to go for a shot at goal again. This time Firman was successful - Knights 14-8.
Halftime: The Dragons have found themselves under pressure for most of the first half but will take plenty of confidence out of only being 6 points down. The Knights on the other hand will be tad disappointed to not be leading by more. They'll want to eliminate handling errors and get some composure in opposition territory in the second half. Halftime Score - Knights 14-8.
41st min: The second half is underway!
43rd min: TRY - Knights. In a bizarre try Danny Buderus was thrown around and then let go which allowed him to stroll over the line to score. Abraham converts - Knights 20-8.
50th min: TRY - Knights. The Gidley and Tahu combination strikes again. Matt Gidley received the ball, drew in two defenders and gave an over the top ball which put Tahu over for a try. Abraham fails to convert - Knights 24-8.
56th min: NEWS - The Dragons are making life hard for themselves. Nathan Brown instructed them to build pressure in the second half but so far they have conceded two tries and now only have 24 minutes to save their season.
65th min: TRY - Knights. O'Davis flicked a ball out the back, Gidley battered the ball on and then Tahu put on a brilliant in and away move to score. Abraham converts - Knights 36-8.
68th min: NEWS - That last try from Tahu sees him tie Robbie O'Davis' record of 74 tries scored for Newcastle.
74th min: NEWS - The game is just getting a little scrappy now as the clock ticks down and the result is decided.
79th min: TRY - Knights. O'Davis goes over for a try that rubs salt into the wounds of the Dragons. Abraham converts - Knights 42-8.
Fulltime: Its been one way traffic as the Knights have beaten the Dragons. The Knights have booked them a spot in the finals while the Dragons season is over. Fulltime Score - Knights 42-8.