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"Photo: Paul Barkley / Melba Studios "

The NSW Cup Knights notched up a 24-12 win over the Wentworthville Magpies on Saturday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval in week one of the finals series.  

On a waterlogged pitch the Knights did well to keep errors to a minimum, earning themselves a week off before entering the qualifying final in two weeks time.

Halfback Michael Dobson earned the Fox Sports Man of the Match with his two try assists and a try while fullback Nathan Ross was again dominant, scoring two tries.

The Magpies' kicking game was strong in the opening minutes but Josh Mantellato was up to the challenge, collecting a number of kicks targeted to his corner.

But it was the Knights who got first points in the tenth minute against the run of play. Dobson provided a perfectly weighted chip for fullback Nathan Ross, who darted through to ground it scant centimetres from the dead-ball line.

Mantellato added the extras to make it 6-0 to the Knights.

Eight minutes later Wentworthville attempted a similar attacking move with a chip from halfback Luke Kelly, but Ross got to the ball first to knock the ball dead as opponents closed in.

The Knights were proving hard to break in defence, Mantellato providing two crucial tackles to keep winger Dureta Faraimo from crossing over on his flank.

The Magpies came up trumps in the 27th minute however, right centre KJ McKenzie breaking through to run 20 metres untouched and score.

Kelly converted for the Magpies to make the score 6-6.

The Knights forced their way upfield on the back of a penalty to score three minutes later, Dobson again assisting Ross for the fullback to cross for his second.

Mantellato converted, the score 12-6 with seven minutes to play in the first half.

Six minutes later the flying winger came to the fore again, intercepting a loose pass to race sixty metres down field before being tackled by Magpies fullback Justin Hunt. 

The half-time siren sounded with the score still at 12-6.

The Knights came out in the second half with the win behind them and were rewarded with an early try.

Prop Toka Likiliki is better known for his hit-ups rather than his footwork, but in the 48th minute he showed a deceptive turn of pace to break through the line and offload for Dobson to score.

Mantellato again added the extras, the score 18-6 after 48 minutes.

Ten minutes later the Knights struck again through a silky back-line move, it started with Dobson, short to Ross, short again to James Elias, who fed it to winger Brayden Williame to cross over in the corner.

Mantellato did well to convert from the touchline with a curling kick, the score 24-6 with twenty minutes to play.

Wentworthville persisted in attack, and Wiliame went from try-scorer to try-saver eight minutes later when he batted away a high ball in the in-goal.

In the dying minutes of the match the Magpies struck back, Jake Butler-Fleming intercepting the ball to run 90 metres and score.

Kelly added the extras to make it 24-12 to the Knights, which remained until full-time siren sounded two minutes later.

The Knights earn a week off and advance straight to the preliminary final in two weeks time.


Newcastle Knights 24 (T: Ross 2, Dobson, Wiliame, G: Mantellato 4/4)
Wentworthville Magpies 12 (T: Mackenzie, Butler-Fleming, G: Kelly 2/2)


Ross, Mantellato, P Mata'utia, Elias, Wiliame, Minto, Dobson, Mataora, Redman, Vaivai, Newton, Underwood, Hilder. Bench: Randell, Horwood, Steele, Likiliki.