Nightingale hat-trick breaks Knights' hearts again
JASON Nightingale scored a hat-trick and brought up his try-scoring ton to save St George Illawarra from humiliation and continue a season of heartbreak for the Newcastle Knights.
On a jaw-dropping day of rugby league at UOW Jubilee Oval, the Dragons scraped home 32-28.
Nightingale's three tries denied the Knights a stunning upset after the cellar dwellers stormed to a 28-10 half-time
In a first-half performance that led to furious fans spraying the Dragons as they left the field, the Knights went on a blitz to score five tries in 20 minutes with Nathan Ross bagging a hat-trick.
But Newcastle's hearts were broken again when Nightingale (pictured) scored his third try to spark the second biggest comeback in the merged club's history.
In a final 40 minutes that saw the Dragons fight and the Knights fold, Nightingale, Joel Thompson and Josh Dugan all scored to seal the remarkable win and snap St George Illawarra's two-match losing streak.
Not even Knights coach Nathan Brown could have predicted such a remarkable match on a ground where he had seen so much.
Returning to the ground that helped turn him into a rugby league star, Brown was hoping his Knights would enjoy some of the success he had at Kogarah as a player.
And the signs were encouraging with the Knights going the length of the field to challenge the Dragons line on set No.1.
The Dragons suffered an early blow when Paul Vaughan was taken off the field with a calf injury and ruled out of the match.