Led by a hat-trick to centre Sione Mata'utia, the Newcastle Knights NYC team have charged to the top of the Holden Cup ladder with a commanding 50-0 victory over the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Monday.
In a strong team performance, the Knights dominated proceedings from the opening whistle with their ruthless defence and free-flowing attack.
While Mata'utia was the star with three tries, back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon, five-eighth Jacob Gagai and winger Bryce Donovan also impressed in the big win.
The Knights will look to continue their unbeaten start to the 2014 season when they host the Cronulla Sharks in round 4 action at Hunter Stadium on Sunday. (kick-off 10.30pm)
Newcastle winger Josh Birch opened the scoring in the 9th minute with some impressive speed to dive over in the right corner.
Bryce Donovan converted from the sideline to give the Knights an early 6-0 lead.
The men in red and blue extended their lead five minutes later with five-eighth Jacob Gagai putting on a great ball for Sione Mata’utia to score.
Donovan added the extras to give the Knights a dream start with 12-0 lead after just 14 minutes.
Newcastle was in complete control of the match and this continued in the 32nd minute when back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon charged down a ball on halfway to run 40 metres and score under the posts.
Donovan converted again and the Knights were cruising leading 18-0 with 8 minutes remaining in the first half.
It’s a comfortable advantage Newcastle would take into the break on back of strong defence and plenty of pressure in attack.
The Knights extended their lead just five minutes into the second half when Mata’utia grabbed his second try.
Donovan was again faultless with the kick to give Newcastle a commanding 24-0 lead with 35 minutes remaining in the match.
Former Bronco Harry Pondekas added to Melbourne’s woes in the 54th minute, when he barged over from close range for the Knights.
Donovan missed the conversion, but it was Newcastle dominating proceedings leading 28-0.
Fullback Jake Mamo did it all himself minutes later, strolling through the Storm's defence to score. Donovan added the extras and the Knights were on top with a big 34-0 lead.
As much as Melbourne tried, they were no match for a red-hot Newcastle side who crossed again in the 60th minute with Mata'utia crossing for his third try of the match. Donovan missed the kick, but the Knights were out in front 38-0 with 20 minutes left.
Donovan decided to join the try scoring party in the 70th minute when he crossed out wide. The in-form winger then converted his own try from the sideline to give the Knights a 44-0 lead with just five minutes on the clock.
Newcastle captain Danny Levi capped off the resounding victory when he spun out of a tackle from 15 minutes out to force his way over the line.
Donovan added the extras for the Knights to notch up an impressive 50-0 shutout of the Storm on their home turf.
Newcastle Knights 50 (T: Mata’utia 3, Birch, Fitzgibbon, Pondekas, Mamo, Donovan, Levi, G: Donovan 6/8)
Melbourne Storm 0
Mamo, Donovan, Mata'utia, Peni, Birch, Gagai, Feeney, Pakau, Levi, Yates, Fitzgibbon, Pondekas, Boyce. Bench: De Saxe, Smith, Togiatasi, Koopu.