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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
National

Newcastle Knights end horror season with record-equalling defeat against Cronulla

Knights prop David Klemmer charges into the Cronulla defence. Picture: Getty Images

THE Newcastle Knights have equalled an embarrassing club record after ending their 2022 NRL season with a 38-16 loss to Cronulla at McDonald Jones Stadium.

It was Newcastle's 10th defeat in 12 home games this year, matching the 10 beatings they suffered in their own backyard in 2016.

On that occasion, the Knights collected the wooden spoon after posting just one win and a draw from their 24 games.

This year Newcastle did not finish last. They ran 14th, after six wins, their worst performance since 2017.

Cronulla qualified second and will enjoy home-ground advantage in week one of the play-offs.

Running into a howling southerly, the Knights twice fought back from deficits to lock scores up at 12-all at half-time.

Cronulla opened the scoring in the 12th minute when back-rower Briton Nikora stretched out in a tackle to score.

Nine minutes later, Knights fullback Tex Hoy produced some fancy footwork after a scrum win to stroll over virtually untouched.

Cronulla regained the ascendancy in the 29th minute when utility back Luke Metcalf pounced on an Adam Clune grubber kick and raced nearly the length of the field to score.

The Knights produced the perfect reply when winger Dominic Young latched onto an intercept in the 36th minute and bolted 90 metres to score.

The visitors grabbed the momentum from the start of the second half, regaining possession from their kick-off.

Seconds later, Nikora crashed through two tackles to score his second try of the match.

Seven minutes later, Cronulla kept the ball alive and winger Ronaldo Mulitalo flashed over out wide for a 24-12 scoreline.

The Knights pegged them back in the 57th minute when Young dived over for his second try.

Two minutes later, another long-range intercept try, this time by centre Jesse Ramien, restored Cronulla's advantage.

Then in the 67th minute, Nikora barged over for his hat-trick.

Adding to Newcastle's woes, forward Mat Croker was sin-binned and placed on report for an alleged "hip-drop" tackle on Sharks centre Siosifa Talaki.

Sharks fullback Lachlan Miller scored while Croker was in the bin.

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