A 35-metre, last gasp field goal from Newcastle Knights five eighth Jack Johns with seven seconds to play has forced a dramatic 23-all draw with the Wyong Roos in the Intrust Super Premiership M1 Derby at Morry Breen Oval this afternoon.
Match: Roos v Knights
Round 9 -
Venue: Morry Breen Oval, Central Coast
In an entertaining contest, Johns' field goal matched the one-pointer that Wyong five eighth Sean O'Sullivan landed with two minutes left that gave the Roos sight of victory in the closing stages.
After getting an early repeat set on the back of a Wyong turnover from the kick-off and a penalty set, Newcastle opened the scoring in the fourth minute when second rower Brodie Jones ran off a well-timed Danny Levi pass to score untouched. Levi converted for a 6-nil Knights lead.
The Roos then defended well against sustained Newcastle attack for the next five minutes before turning the tables on their first attack inside the Knights defensive 20 metre area in the 11th minute.
A right sided short side play saw Roos second rower Josh Curran carry a couple of Knights defenders over the line to score the home side's first try. Josh Mantellato converted to level the scores at 6-all.
Five minutes later, a cut out pass down the right by Roos five eighth Dean Matterson was intercepted by Knights centre Cory Dennis who dashed 50 metres down the left-hand touch line before being brought to ground in a superb cover defensive tackle from Roos fullback Luke Sharpe.
On the next tackle, quick passing from Levi out of dummy half against the backpedalling Wyong defence saw fullback Brent Naden finish the counter attack to score near the uprights. Levi's simple conversion attempt hit the upright to leave the Knights in front 10-6.
Both sides then got into the arm wrestle for the next eight minutes before the Roos finished off a sweeping backline movement down the left side for centre Paul Momirovski to score in the corner. Mantellato superbly converted from the touchline to give the Roos a 12-10 lead.
Eight minutes from half time, Newcastle regained the lead when a long left to right pass by Knights half Hayden Loughrey on an open side switch found winger Tom Cronan on the second bounce.
Cronan then beat the Roos' cover defence to score in the corner. Levi missed the touchline conversion, leaving Newcastle in front 14-12 – a lead the Knights held to the half time break.
Newcastle extended their lead three minutes into the second half on the back of another repeat penalty set when interchange centre Pat Mata'utia finished off a blind side raid to score wide out on the left.
Johns took over the kicking duties and landed the conversion to extend the Knights lead to 20-12.
Both sides could not break the other's defensive line as the game reached a stalemate for the next 20 minutes.
Then, from a scrum deep inside the Knights defensive 20 metre area in the 64th minute, the Roos sent the ball through the hands across the backline for winger Matt Ikuvalu to score in the right corner.
Mantellato missed the conversion from touch, but Wyong were back in the game having pulled the deficit back to 20-16.
Johns converted an offside penalty for the Knights with nine minutes left from close range to give Newcastle a six-point buffer at 22-16, before Wyong set up the grandstand finish with the last try of the match from a Knights turnover from the restart set.
Interchange forward Sitili Tupouniua finished off another sweeping chain passing movement to score wide out on the right. Mantellato nailed his second touchline conversion to level scores for the second time at 22-all with five minutes left.
In the tense closing stages, a simple error from Knights half Coughtrey out of dummy half set up field position for O'Sullivan to land his field goal to give Wyong the lead with two minutes left.
Then a loose pass from Wyong interchange forward Chris Smith with under a minute to play gave the Knights one last set of six tackles – from which they worked play close enough for the eldest son of Knights legend Matt Johns to nail his last gasp field goal to force the draw.
The draw keeps both sides in their positions on the ISP table, with the Roos in 11th spot on five points, and the Knights still at the foot of the table on four points for their new coach Rory Kostjayn – having replaced Simon Woolford after the foremer Canberra and St. George Illawarra hooker took up the Huddersfield job in the last fortnight.
The Roos take on the Wentworthville Magpies at Leichhardt Oval next Saturday in their next ISP engagement, while the Knights play Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Laybutt Fields, Blacktown next Sunday in their next ISP match.
WYONG ROOS 23 (J Curran, P Momirovski, M Ikuvalu, S Tupouniua tries; J Mantellato 3 goals; S O'Sullivan field goal) drew NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 23 (B Jones, B Naden, T Cronan, P Mata'utia tries; J Johns 2, D Levi goals: J Johns field goal)