Newcastle Knights junior representative teams moved a step closer to finals football with strong wins over the Penrith Panthers on Saturday.
The Harold Matthews charged to the top of the ladder with a dominant 40-0 win over the previously unbeaten Penrith.
The Panthers have been on top of the table for much of the season, but the Knights proved far too good on the day to steal top spot.
Winger Samuel McIntyre scored a hat-trick in the win, while halfback Brendan O’Hagan scored a try and kicked four goals.
If the under 16s beat Melbourne in the final round at home on Saturday they'll clinch the minor premiership.
In the other game, the SG Ball side kept their finals hopes alive with an amazing comeback victory over the table-topping Panthers.
Newcastle trialled 30-6 just after halftime, but in true Knights fashion they rallied in the second half with 30 points to record an impressive 36-30 victory.
The under 18s outfit are now in ninth position, just one point outside the top eight, and must beat Melbourne in the final round on Saturday and to qualify for the finals.
High Performance Unit (HPU) Coach Troy Pezet says it's great to see both the Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams performing so strongly.
"If the Harold Matthews win this week at home against Melbourne they'll finish minor premiers, which after losing our round one game against Wests on the bell is a huge accomplishment for those young blokes," Pezet says.
"Our SG Ball came back from 30-6 down to win against the previoulsy unbeaten Penrith. We have a young team in the 18s and currently have 12 kids who are younger than 18, so they are doing really well.
"All they need to do is beat Melbourne to make it, so that is certainly achievable at home."
Newcastle play the Melbourne Storm in the final round this Saturday at Lakeside in Raymond Terrace.
The SG Ball starts at 12pm , while the Harold Matthews kicks off from 10am.
Junior rep results:
Newcastle Knights 36 (T: N.Barker 2, B.Robson 2, J.Cogger, T.Amey; B.Lamb 3, J.McNamara 3 goals) d Penrith Panthers 30.
Newcastle Knights 40 (T: S.McIntyre 3, B.O’Hagan, M.Cooper, B.Musgrove, N.O’Meley, B.Jones; O’Hagan 4 goals) d Penrith Panthers 0.
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