The NSW Cup Newcastle Knights have conjured a late second half comeback to secure a 34-26 win over the Illawarra Cutters in Corrimal on Saturday.
Coach Matt Lantry is pleased the Knights managed back-to-back wins and praised the Knights for a strong finish to the game that conjured a win.
“It was always going to be a tough trip with a suburban venue, cold rainy weather and a long bus trip,” Lantry said.
“It was important that we started well and we certainly did that with a lot of energy.
The Knights surged ahead with a decent lead thanks to strong tries by Pat Mata’utia and Jaelen Feeney that allowed the Knights a 24-4 lead at half time.
Yet 20 minutes into the second half, the Knights found themselves trailing the Cutters 26-24.
“To say things shifted in relation to momentum is an understatement,” he said.
We didn’t have a lot of field position or possession. We were also coming out of our own end against a bit of a breeze, so certainly the conditions take a toll on everyone as well as the fatigue factor as well.
“To the boys credit, they hung in there and scored two tries in the last 10 minutes to snatch the game back away from Illawarra.
Prop Sam Mataora was Lantry’s standout performer for Round 5.
“He led by example and in 57 minutes came up with 32 tackles and 17 hit ups which are really good numbers,” he said.
“The majority of his games have been pretty dominant as well.
“Joe Tapine played well and I thought Jake Mamo played his best game for NSW Cup for this year.
“Our halves controlled the game really well with their kicking game and coming out of our own end and into the corners.
“That certainly helped us with the field position battle early in the first half.
“Our halves forced three repeat sets and a try off a cross-field kick.
“It’s probably an area that we struggle with over the last few weeks with our play five options and our kicking game in general, but I think they had a good handle on it and between our forwards, were laying a decent platform through the middle.”
The NSW Cup Knights are set to play the Mounties at Aubrey Keech Oval on Saturday.
The Knights jumped out to an early 24-0 lead before the Cutters scored 26 unanswered points to take the lead with 20 minutes to play. However two late Knights tries won them the Round 5 match by eight points.
Newcastle Knights 34 (T: Jaelen Feeney 2, Joseph Tapine 2, Chad Redman, Pat Mata'utia; G: Kerrod Holland 5/6 goals).
Illawarra Cutters 26 (T: Yaw Kiti Glymin 2, Tyron Cranston, Peter Mata'utia, Fraser Alcock; G: Shannon Crook 3/5).