THE Newcastle Knights provided their loyal fans with a long-overdue home win to celebrate after a courageous 24-14 triumph against Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
It was Newcastle's first win on home turf since they beat Gold Coast Titans on July 1 last year, ending a streak of six consecutive losses in their own backyard.
It was the Knights' second win in four games this season and lifted them from 16th to 12th on the points table.
Former Gold Coast winger Greg Marzhew made an outstanding debut for Newcastle, scoring two tries and carrying the ball 232 metres in attack.
Both teams scored two tries in the first half but the Raiders led 14-8 at the break.
Former Great-Branxton junior Hudson Young opened the scoring for Canberra in the fifth minute when he sliced through from close range after a short ball from half Matt Frawley.
Seven minutes later, the Knights kept the ball alive and spun it to right edge, where Marzhew - promoted in the place of English international flyer Dom Young - scored in corner
Newcastle surged to an 8-6 lead in the 18th minute when, after several repeat sets, centre Bradman Best crashed over out wide.
The home fans' excitement was short-lived, however, when five-eighth Jack Wighton restored Canberra's lead by stepping his way through flimsy defence to score adjacent to the posts.
Then on the last play of the first half, Frawley landed a two-point field goal to give the visitors a six-point advantage.
The Knights hit back five minutes after the resumption when five-eighth Tyson Gamble looped a pinpoint cut-out and Marzhew scored spectacularly in the corner.
From the sideline, fullback Lachlan Miller converted to lock the scores up at 14-apiece.
Two minutes later, centre Dane Gagai scored in almost exactly the same spot and Miller again turned four points into six from a wide angle.
The game took a turn in the 49th minute when Wighton was controversially sin-binned for a late hit after a clearing kick by Knights halfback Jackson Hastings.
A minute later, Newcastle back-rower Tyson Frizell scored to give the home side a 24-14 advantage.
The Knights defended tenaciously to repel a host of Canberra onslaughts and keep their line intact.
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