REPORT | Newcastle Thunder 6 Dons 20

REPORT | Newcastle Thunder 6 Dons 20

15th September 2019

Sam Doherty’s 20th try of the season helped the Dons to a 20-6 victory at Newcastle Thunder in the first round of the Betfred League One play-offs.

Richard Horne’s side produced a brilliant team performance to keep Thunder scoreless until the final few minutes of the game.

The Dons made the perfect start when Matty Beharrell’s kick to the corner was claimed by Doherty who climbed highest to touch down and put his side in front.

The home side were dealt a blow when centre Matty Wright was sin-binned for a high tackle on Dons winger Tom Halliday – who left the field for a concussion assessment.

Despite being a man down, Thunder almost scored their first try when Kieran Gill looked to be over in the corner, only for a brilliantly timed tackle by Jordie Hedges to deny him at the last.

The Dons then extended their lead in the final 10 minutes of the half, as Frankie Mariano found Jason Tali who went over against his former club to make it an 8-0 lead going into the break.

Tali was called upon defensively early in the second-half, as he prevented Misi Taulapapa from scoring close to the corner post with some strong defending.

That proved to be key as just a few moments later, Mariano extended the lead as he held off up to five Newcastle defenders to power over under the posts.

They had another try with 17 minutes remaining, as Matty Chrimes collected a loose ball inside his own half and raced clear to score.

There was time for a consolation score from Newcastle’s Alex Clegg late on, but it came too late and the Dons will now face a trip to Oldham in the play-off semi-final.

REPORT | Newcastle Thunder 6 Dons 20