NRL: Knights edge Panthers

James McManus, right, of the Newcastle Knights celebrates a try with team mates. Photo / Getty Images
James McManus, right, of the Newcastle Knights celebrates a try with team mates. Photo / Getty Images

Newcastle have kept their 2013 unbeaten home record intact with an uninspiring 8-6 NRL win over a luckless Penrith at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

The sides scored one try each and it was a first-half Kurt Gidley penalty goal that proved the difference.

The win is the Knights' fourth at home this year while the loss was the fifth successive defeat for the Panthers.

In a low-quality game punctuated by errors, a courageous Panthers side, whose bench was cleared in the second half after a series of injuries, fought their way back from an 8-0 halftime deficit to bring some life to the game in the final exchanges.

Sika Manu pounced on a Luke Walsh bomb spilled by Knights fullback Darius Boyd with 10 minutes left to give the Panthers a chance at the win, but Newcastle were up to the task.

The sole highlight of a first half strewn with mistakes was James McManus' seventh-minute try.

McManus took the ball 10m out from the Knights line from a scrum win and threaded his way between Panthers defenders Manu and Nigel Plum and raced 90m to score under the posts to the delight of the 15,536 strong crowd for a converted try and an early 6-0 lead.

The only other points Newcastle managed in the first stanza were from Gidley's penalty goal in the 25th minute after Penrith were caught offside on their own goalline.

The home side went to halftime with an 8-0 lead but the Panthers were unlucky not to be ahead.

Centre Wes Naiqama was tackled just short of the line in the 16th minute and the video referee disallowed a 34th-minute try to Tim Grant, ruling that Cameron Ciraldo pushed Knights defender Alex McKinnon out of the way, when it didn't appear as though it had any impact on the play.

- AAP

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