The Newcastle Knights were comfortable 18-7 winners over the St George Illawarra Dragons in their first match of the 2015 Auckland Nines, captain Jarrod Mullen providing a clinic for any aspiring kickers with three superb try-assists.
The Knights were quick off the mark, Chanel Mata'utia coming close on the left side in the first minute after his brother in Dragons colours, Pete Mata'utia, knocked the ball on 40 metres out from his own line.
The Dragons were quick to retaliate however, winger Eto Nabuli breaking down the left flank with enough space to score a bonus five-point try.
Josh Dugan added the extras from directly in front of the uprights to make it 7-0.
Jake Mamo scored moments later with his first touch of the game, skipper Jarrod Mullen providing a perfect lob for him to collect.
Tyrone Roberts was unable to convert from the sideline, the score 7-5 with five minutes gone.
The Knights were at it again two minutes later, Mullen executing a sumptuous left-footed grubber for Dane Gagai to scoop up and score.
Roberts was again unable to place his conversion from the sideline, the score 8-7 to the Knights when the half-time siren sounded two minutes later.
The Knights were pinned back on their own try-line in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Dragons were unable to capitalise on their set of five with new Knight recruit Carlos Tuimavave seizing on a loose pass to give his side respite.
Mullen made the Dragons pay three minutes later, providing his third outstanding kick of the game for Mamo to charge through the middle and score a 5-pointer.
Mullen took the conversion this time but was unable to score from in front of the uprights, the score 12-7 with three minutes to play.
The Knights weren't done though, Mamo utilising his raw pace to race past two defenders on the right side and score his third of the match.
Mullen provided a neat conversion from the sideline, the score 18-7 to the Knights when the full-time siren sounded.
The Knights play their second game of the Auckland Nines at 2.25pm AEDT (4.25pm NZ) against the Parramatta Eels, who won their first pool game.
TEAM: Ross, Gagai, C Mata'utia, Mullen, Roberts, Clydsdale, Houston, Rochow, Sims. Interchange: Mamo, Tuimavave, Randell, Tapine, Stockwell.