The NSW Cup Knights recorded a resounding 42-18 win over the Manly Sea Eagles at No.2 Sportsground on Sunday afternoon, moving into third place on aggregate with only one game left in the home and away season.
Returning fullback Nathan Ross was the star of the afternoon, bagging four tries and making plenty of surging runs.
With Michael Dobson called up to play in the NRL on Saturday, Tyler Randell moved to the halves and Noel Underwood slotted in at second-row.
The Knights were full of running in the early stages, Ross earning his side a penalty in the second minute when opposition defenders were too slow out of the tackle.
The Knights were unable to take advantage though, Manly's fullback Clinton Gutherson snapping up a loose pass to race down the centre of the field.
Opposite number Ross came to the rescue, making a strong tackle that resulted in Gutherson losing the ball.
The Knights made the most of the opportunity this time, winger Josh Mantellato evading several defenders on the right flank to score. He then converted his try to make it 6-0 with ten minutes gone.
The Knights winger was left dazed and on the ground eight minutes later when Manly's Ligi Sao made a solid one-on-one tackle.
The referee ruled that Sao led with his shoulder, and the Manly second-rower was placed on report.
This didn't deter the away side four minutes later as halfback Zach Nicholls slipped through to score. Jack Littlejohn stepped up to the tee, nailing the conversion to make it 6-6 with 22 minutes gone.
Manly scored again almost immediately from the kick-off, hooker Jayden Hodges making a neat solo run down the left side. Again Littlejohn added the extras, the score now 12-6 after 25 minutes.
The Knights were quick to react, right-edge weapons Mantellato and Pat Mata'utia combining well for the latter to score four minutes later.
Mantellato converted from a tight angle, the score 12-12 with ten minutes to play in the first half.
With the final minutes of the opening half threatening to dissolve into a forward pack arm-wrestle, Randell popped up with a solo try that brought the crowd to their feet.
Racing down the left side, the utility back chased his own chip, beating Manly winger Delroy Berryman to the ball and slipping free to score.
Again Mantellato executed his conversion perfectly, making it 18-12 as the half time buzzer sounded.
The Knights found themselves under pressure early in the second stanza, and Ross did well to intercept an offload on the try line.
Manly kept at it though, and Littlejohn planted down a loose ball to score minutes later.
Littlejohn added the extras to his own try, the score now 18-18 after 60 minutes.
Four minutes later the Knights were awarded another penalty for a Manly raised elbow, second-rower Sao again the culprit.
Ross took full advantage of the penalty, showing strength and speed to force his way over the line in the right corner.
Mantellato was unable to convert this time, the score 22-18 with 24 minutes to play.
Ross was at it again four minutes later, receiving a sharp pass from Clint Newton to bag his second. Mantellato added the extras, the score now 28-18.
The Knights were on a roll now and winger Brayden Williame thought he had scored five minutes later, only to be ruled offside from Matt Minto's chip.
No such rulings were made in the 70th minute though, Ross grabbing a hat-trick by powering through three defenders. Mantellato's attempted conversion was waved away, leaving the score at 32-18 in the 71st minute.
Sam Mataora was unstoppable two minutes later, knocking his way through four players to dive over between the uprights.
Mantellato made no mistakes this time, boosting the scoreline to 38-18.
Fullback Ross grabbed his fourth of the afternoon in the 75th minute, collecting a Minto bomb to score in the right corner.
Skipper Matt Hilder grabbed the kicking tee this time but was unable to convert from the touchline, leaving the score at 42-18 when the full-time siren sounded.