A dominant first half display has laid the platform for the Newcastle Knights to charge to a commanding 56-10 victory over the Cronulla Sharks at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
In a brilliant showcase of attacking football, the home side piled on 36 points in the first stanza to set up the team's fourth consecutive win to start the 2014 season.
Knights winger and goal kicker Bryce Donovan kicked eight goals and scored one try in the win for a personal tally of 24 points, while halfback Jaelen Feeney and winger Josh Birch both scored two tries each.
Newcastle have now scored 50 points in back-to-back weeks to maintain their position at the top of the Holden Cup ladder after four rounds.
The home team received a boost prior to kick-off with second-rower Joe Tapine named to start in his first match for 2014 after an off-season hernia injury.
With Tapine back in the line-up, the Knights now have their strongest team available and they played with plenty of confidence in the opening exchanges.
It was Cronulla who had the first attacking opportunity after five minutes though, but they were unable to convert due to poor ball control.
The Knights opened the scoring in the 9th minute when halfback Jaelen Feeney backed up a strong charge from centre Chance Peni, to run 40 metres and score under the posts.
Donovan converted to give Newcastle an early 6-0 lead.
Newcastle looked dangerous with the ball in hand and crossed again in the 9th minute via fullback Jake Mamo.
Mamo picked off a brilliant pass from second-rower Joe Tapine to score next to the uprights.
Donovan added the extras from close range for a 12-0 lead with 22 minutes remaining in the first half.
On the back of all the early field possession, the Knights were in complete control of the game.
This enabled them to add to their advantage in the 20th minute via Donovan, who finished off a neat backline move to dive over in the western corner.
The winger converted his own try to extend the lead to 18-0 with 20 minutes remaining in the first half.
As hard as Cronulla tried, they were no match for the Knights’ attack who were on a point-scoring spree.
Newcastle back-rower Tapine barged over three minutes later and Donovan added the extras to give the home side a commanding 24-0 with 17 minutes remaining in the first stanza.
Cronulla hit back in the 30th minute via centre Taylar Garrett, but it was the Knights who finished the first half on top following a double to winger Josh Birch to go to the break with a commanding 36-4 advantage.
Newcastle continued their dominance in the second half, with halfback Feeney strolling over to score after just three minutes. Donovan converted the try to stretch the Knights' lead out to 42-4.
Cronulla responded with a much needed try to halfback Fa'amanu Brown three minutes later.
Brown showed plenty of class to score, while fullback Valentine Holmes converted to reduce the deficit to 42-10 with 30 minutes left on the clock.
While the first half was entertainment plus on the back of Newcastle's attacking flair, the second half was riddled by mistakes.
In fact, it took the Knights until the 70th minute to cross for their next four-pointer.
Second-rower Harry Pondekas proving too strong from close range to extend the lead out to 46-10 following another Donovan conversion.
Newcastle's commanding win was capped off with two late tries, one to prop Luke Yates in the 76th minute and the other to centre Chance Peni in the dying seconds.
Knights: Mamo, Donovan, S.Mata’utia, Peni, Birch, Gagai, Feeney, Pakau, Levi, Yates, Tapine, Pondekas, Fitzgibbon. Bench: De Saxe, Smith, Boyce Koopu.
Sharks: Holmes, Wells, Garrett, Moraitis, Addo-Carr, Clarke, Brown, Chahoud, Drysdale, Goodwin, Siolo, Walford, Asotasti. Bench: Wilder, McGill, Muller, Lawrence.