A brilliant solo try from fullback Jake Mamo on the full-time siren proved the difference as the Knights' NYC team continued their winning ways with a thrilling 34-28 win over the Canberra Raiders on Sunday.
In a highly entertaining match at Hunter Stadium, Mamo was the star thanks to an incredible chip-and-chase effort when the game was destined for a draw.
With just seconds remaining on the clock and the scores locked at 28-all, the Gosford-born flyer put in a kick for himself before he toed it ahead twice to regather and seal an amazing victory.
The piece of individual brilliance was Mamo's third try for the day in a strong all-round performance from the gifted No.1. Captain and hooker Danny Levi was also impressive for the home side, as was halfback Jaelen Feeney and back-rower Luke Yates.
After the opening round victory against Penrith, Newcastle has now knocked off last year's NYC grand finalists in the first two rounds of the 2014 season.
Mamo was named in the No. 19 jumper after dropping off an extended NRL bench selected earlier in the week.
The Gosford-born flyer returned to fullback, forcing Bryce Donovan back to his usual position on the wing.
Newcastle opened the scoring after just three minutes following a perfectly placed kick from halfback Jaelen Feeney.
Feeney’s chip forced a Canberra mistake on their line, allowing Knights’ lock Joe Boyce to pounce and score.
Donovan converted to give Newcastle an early 6-0 lead.
The home side looked strong in the opening exchanges led by forwards Tuiala Togiatasi and Jah Pakau.
Canberra had their first opportunity to score in the 11th minute, but centre Brenko Lee dropped the ball over the line.
Mamo then made a strong surge to the line just three minutes later, but he was ruled held up.
Newcastle retained possession on the fourth tackle and hooker Danny Levi extended the lead with a clever dart from dunny half.
Donovan was again faultless with the conversion to give the home side a comfortable 12-0 advantage.
Canberra hit back in the 20th minute, with centre Jack Creith finishing off a neat backline move to score in the eastern corner.
The conversion was waved away and Newcastle remained in front leading 12-4.
On a result of consecutive penalties, the Raiders were in again just four minutes later.
Creith showed great strength to carry four Newcastle defenders over the line and score out wide.
Patrick Mago converted from the sideline to reduce the Knights’ lead to just two points with 13 minutes remaining in the first half.
Canberra was starting to look the stronger side, but this momentum was stalled in the 30thminute when Newcastle made the most of a crucial Raiders’ mistake.
Mamo showed great speed to score under the posts and extend the Knights’ lead to 18-10 following another Donovan conversion.
The Raiders refused to give in though and were over again just three minutes later thanks to halfback Andrew Heffernan.
Mago added the extras to reduce Newcastle’s advantage to just two points – a lead they would take into the halftime break.
Canberra opened the scoring six minutes into the second half via back-rower Tevita Pangai Junior.
Mago converted from the sideline to put the Raiders in front for the first time in the match, leading 22-18.
Newcastle had a number of chances to score the following 15 minutes, but couldn’t convert due to the Raiders’ defence.
This changed in the 64th minute when centre Sione Mata'utia scored out wide to lock the scores at 22-all after Donovan missed the conversion.
Mamo did it all himself six minutes later to beat three defenders and plant the ball down in the eastern corner.
Donovan added the extras to give Newcastle a 28-22 lead with just seven minutes left on the clock.
Canberra wouldn't go away though and levelled the scores at 28-all just two minutes later via Heffernan's second try. The match looked certain to end in a draw, until Mamo swopped in the dying stages with his individual brilliance to seal an amazing win.
Knights: Donovan, Mamo, S.Mata’utia, Peni, Birch, Gagai, Feeney, Pakau, Levi, Togiatasi, Fitzgibbon, Yates, Boyce. Bench: De Saxe, Smith, Pondekas, Koopu.
Raiders: Garard, Creith, Lee, McIlwrick, Hurst, Frawley, Heffernan, Shaw, McGrath, Solomon, Mago, Pangai Junior, Bateman. Bench: Webley, Baker, Fidow-Kele, Pangai.
NYC Full Time
Newcastle Knights 34 (T: Mamo 3, Boyce, Levi, Mata’utia, G: Donovan 5/6)
Canberra Raiders 28 (T: Creith 2, Heffernan 2, Pangai Junior, G: Mago 4/5)