The Newcastle Knights enjoyed a highly successful weekend, winning four of their five matches.
In an emotional week following the tragicn spinal injury to back-rower Alex McKinnon, the Club showed great strength across the board to focus and perform on game day.
With McKinnon in the back of their minds as inspiration, the NRL team surged to a commanding 30-0 victory over the Cronulla Sharks at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
The impressive win was set up on the back of a dominant first half display. The Knights led 26-0 at the break and continued that dominance in the second half to record their first win for the season.
Inspired by their best defensive effort of the season, the Club's NSW Cup side also recorded a 23-16 win over last year's premiers Cronulla on Sunday.
In a highly competitive match against a strong Sharks side, it was the Knights' defence that proved the difference at the backend of the game.
Fullback Honeti Tuhu was outstanding for the home side in attack and defence, while Tyler Randell, Pat Mata'utia, Chris Houston and Zane Tetevano all came up with the big plays when it mattered most.
Speaking of big plays, the team's seven-point win was sealed by veteran lock Matt Hilder, who slotted a field goal from 35 metres out with just 11 minutes remaining in the match.
Meanwhile in the NYC, a dominant first half display laid the platform for the Knights to charge to a comprehensive 56-10 victory over the Sharks 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.
Winger and goal kicker Bryce Donovan kicked eight goals and scored one try in the victory 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 Club's junior representative teams also tasted success in round 7 action on the weekend. The SG Ball side recorded a tense 30-all draw against the Central Coast, while the Harold Matthews outfit charged to a big 74-4 triumph over the Centurions.
Newcastle travels to Penrith to take on the Panthers in the 16s and 18s this Saturday. The SG Ball starts at 12pm, while the Harold Matthews will kick-off from 10am.
The Knights have the bye in the NSW Cup, while the NRL and NYC teams will take on North Queensland in Townsville next Monday night.
The Holden Cup starts at 4.45pm (local), while the NRL kicks off at 7pm (local).
Knights 30 (T: J.Leilua 3, D.Boyd, T.Roberts, R.Rochow; Roberts 3 goals) d Sharks 0.
Knights 56 (T: J.Feeney 2, J.Birch 2, B.Donovan, J.Mamo, J.Tapine, H.Pondekas, L.Yates. C.Peni; Donovan 8 goals) d Sharks 10.
Knights 23 (T: D.Kerr, J.Mantellato, C.Houston, H.Tuha; Mantellato 3 goals) d Sharks 16.
Knights 30 (T: J.Mackin, C.Edwards, N.Barker, B.Lamb, S.Apthorpe, R.Glanville; Lamb 3 goals) drew with Central Coast 30.
Knights 74 (T: N.O’Meley 2, H.Gibbs 2, B.O’Hagan, M.Cooper, S.McIntyre, T.Starling, B.Jones, J.Taylor, H.Young, K.Blasczak; O’Hagan 8, Jones 3 goals) d Central Coast 4.
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