They tried hard, but in the end effort wasn't enough for the Knights' NSW Cup side as they suffered a comprehensive 46-10 loss against Mounties at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
In a match dominated by disappointing handling errors, the home side struggled to keep pace with an in-form Mounties outfit who piled on the points led by four-try star Sami Sauiluma.
On a positive note for the Knights, both Pat Mata'utia and Chanel Mata'utia were strong and hooker Chad Redman refused to give in despite a heavy workload in defence.
Newcastle will regroup this week, before taking on defending NSW Cup premiers Cronulla at St John Oval in Charlestown next Saturday.
The opening exchanges of the match were heated with Mounties prop Kyle O’Donnell and Newcastle’s Korbin Sims trading blows.
Once the troops settled down, it was the away side that opened the scoring after just six minutes.
Winger Sami Sauiluma showed great strength to beat three defenders to dive over in the eastern corner.
Joey Bond missed the conversion, but Mounties had the early 4-0 lead.
Newcastle struggled to retain possession and it allowed Mounties to take control of the match.
Centre Bill Tupou added to their advantage in 10th minute with a strong run to the line to score.
The conversion was again waved away, but Mounties were in control leading 8-0.
Newcastle refused to give in though and hit back in the 15th minute following a great try to five-eighth Tyler Randell.
Randell was the beneficiary of a freakish pass from centre Pat Mata’utia to score out wide.
Mantellato added the extras to reduce Mounties’ lead to 8-6 with 22 remaining in the first half.
Newcastle had their chances to take the lead, but couldn’t convert and the away team made them pay with winger Sauiluma grabbing his second try.
Bond missed the kick, but Mounties led 12-6.
The looked to have crossed out wide via winger Chanel Mata’utia in the 32nd minute, but the pass from Randell was ruled forward.
Mounties then went the length of the field for winger Sauiluma to score his third try.
Mitch Cornish converted from the sideline to give Mounties a comfortable 18-6 advantage with just four minutes remaining in the first half.
It’s a lead the away side added to in the following set, with replacement Reece Goldsmith barging over from close range.
Cornish converted and Mounties were cruising at halftime leading 24-6.
Mounties added to their advantage just four minutes into the second half, with Goldsmith finishing off an impressive run by Sauiluma to score.
Cornish converted to give the away side a big 30-6 lead.
Mounties were well and truly on top, but Newcastle refused to give in and continued to throw everything at their opponents.
Unfortunately for the Knights this counted for little in the 59th minute when Mounties added to their lead via back-rower Jake Foster.
Cornish converted and the team in yellow and black were in complete control leading 36-6 with 19 minutes left in the second half.
Mounties were in again 10 minutes later, with Foster grabbing his second try with a slicing run through the Knights' defence.
Cornish missed the kick, but the away side led 40-6.
As hard as Newcastle tried, they were simply no match for the potent Mounties side, who extended their lead in the 72nd minute with Sauiluma snaring his fourth try.
Cornish converted to give Mounties a 46-6 advantage with just six minutes left in the match. Back-rower Korbin Sims barged over on the full-time siren, but in the end it meant little as the away side proved too strong.
Knights: Tuha, Mantellato, Willame, P.Mata'utia, C.Mata'utia, Randell, Kerr, Fa'alogo, Redman, Vaivai, Sims, Suilepa, Hilder. Bench: Clydsdale, Horwood, Elias, Likiliki.
Mounties: Bond, Hawkins, Tupou, Pangai, Sauiluma, Place, Cornish, O'Donnell, McIlwrick, Nicholls, Foster, Shackleton, Priest. Bench: Cahalane, Setu, Goldsmith, Aiga.
NSW Cup Summary
Newcastle Knights 10 (T: Randell, G: Mantellato 1/1, Kerr 0/1)
Mounties 46 (T: Sauiluma 4, Goldsmith 2, Tupou, Foster, G: Bond 0/2, Cornish 5/6)