The Newcastle Knights defeated the Canberra Raiders 26-4 in front of a 6,350 crowd at Seiffert Oval on Saturday night.
The visitors led 14-nil at half time before running out 22-point winners, with Akuila Uate scoring a hat-trick.
The Raiders lost captain Jarrod Croker early in the match following a solid hit from youngster Sione Mata’utia. The Knights had a scare minutes later when Joey Leilua limped from the field, only to return less than five minutes later.
Both sides had some early chances but it was the Knights that crossed first in the 18th minute. After bombing a try a set earlier, the Knights made no mistake spreading it to the right edge for Uate to record his first try of the match. Kurt Gidley was unable to convert from the sideline and the Knights led 4-nil.
The Knights were in again four minutes later, again having success on the right edge when Mullen cut out two for Uate to cross for his second. Gidley missed the conversion and the Knights led 8-nil.
McManus left the field late in the first half following a head knock while Gidley was taken off as a precaution. Nathan Ross played the reminder of the match at fullback, with Mata’utia shifting to the wing and Dane Gagai into the centres.
The Knights maintained the pressure and Leilua scored in the left corner just before the half time break. With Gidley off, Tyrone Roberts slotted the sideline conversion to give the Knights a 14-nil lead at half time.
After the Raiders had a try disallowed for offside early in the second half, moments later Knights’ hooker Adam Clydsdale dived over from dummy half. Roberts converted to extend Newcastle’s lead to 20 unanswered points after 46 minutes.
Uate had a try disallowed in the 50th minute but still managed to score a hat-trick in his first match of the pre-season. Uate and Gagai combined on the right edge to make a 60 metre break that ultimately set up Uate’s third in the 55th minute. Roberts again added the extras to give the Knights a 26-nil lead.
The Raiders got on the scoreboard in the 64th minute when lock Shaun Fensom dived over off a short ball from Sam Williams. Jordan Rapana missed the conversion and the score remained 26-4 until the full time siren.
Coach Rick Stone was pleased with the full team performance, the result and to complete the trial match without any major injury concerns.
The Knights now have two weeks before season 2015 kicks off, hosting the New Zealand Warriors at Hunter Stadium on Saturday week.
MATCH SUMMARY AT SEIFFERT OVAL
Newcastle Knights 26 (T: Uate 3, Leilua, Clydsdale, G: Gidley 0/2, Roberts 3/3)
Canberra Raiders 4 (T: Fensom, G: Rapana 0/1)
Knights: Gidley, McManus, Leilua, S Mata'utia, Uate, Mullen, Roberts, Snowden, Clydsdale, K Sims, Scott, Rochow, Smith. Bench: Gagai, Randell, Houston, Fa'alogo, Stockwell, Ross, Tapine, Newton.
Raiders: Wighton, Waqa, J Croker, E Lee, Hawkins, Austin, Cornish, Shillington, Hodgson, Tilse, Papalii, Soliola, Vaughan. Bench: Williams, Nuuausala, J Kennedy, Boyd, McCrone, Buttriss, Edwards, Rapana, Fensom.