The NYC Newcastle Knights beat the Cronulla Sharks 22-18 at Remondis Stadium on Friday night, showing nerves of steel to score the winning try with less than three minutes to play.
Brock Lamb was again a standout for the young Knights, scoring a try and laying the platform for another with a crafty line-break.
2014 SG Ball Players' Player Tyrone Amey made his NYC debut for the Knights from the bench while Fuaimamao Uta replaced Brodie Lam on the left wing.
The young Sharks looked set to score a try in their first set, but halfback Jack Cogger intercepted a Jayden Brailey ball to be held up in goal.
There were no defensive heroics in the following set though, as Sharks captain Anthony Moraitis crossed over in the left corner. Jamayne Isaako did well to steer the kick between the posts from an acute angle, giving the home side an early 6-0 lead with only six minutes played.
On the back of a classy 80-metre set the Knights posted their first points, Bradie Smith offloading for Bryce Donovan to break through the line and give Brock Lamb an easy try near the uprights. Donovan added the extras to make the score 6-6 with sixteen minutes played.
The Knights looked close to scoring again four minutes later, Fuaimamao Uta breaking down the left and hurling the ball back in field for Danny Levi to cross the line, but the touch-judge ruled that Uta had gone out of play before delivering his pass.
The left side was proving to be effective for the Knights and in the 27th minute they scored their second, this time via centre Josh Birch. Donovan was unable to convert from the sideline, keeping the score at 10-6.
With two minutes left in the first half the Sharks came close to scoring with Brailey making a nice run from dummy-half, but interchange forward John Leger dropped the ball with the try-line begging.
The Sharks had time for one more attack though, and following a scrum ten metres out fullback Ryan Cummins made the Knights pay for some sloppy defending. Isaako again did well to convert, giving the Sharks a 12-10 half-time lead.
It was the Knights who scored first points in the second half, Lamb literally creating something out of nothing when he dummied his way through the Sharks defence 20 metres out from his own line. With defenders closing in he passed on to Donovan, who scored beneath the uprights. Donovan converted his own try, giving the Knights a 16-12 lead with thirty minutes left on the clock.
The Knights were close to scoring again in the 59th minute, forward Jacob Saifiti weaving his way through the line only to lose the ball when he collided with one of the uprights.
The home side made them pay two minutes later, Daniel Liddicoat capitalising on a dropped ball from Donovan to score left of the uprights.
Isaako made it three from three with his conversion, pushing the Sharks back in front with an 18-16 lead.
Both sides continued to push for the decisive blow, and with five minutes left to play the Knights secured themselves a scrum ten metres out. Luke Yates looked to clamp down on a Cogger grubber, but Sharks fullback Cummins managed to palm the ball out of play.
The Knights had a second chance from the line drop-out and they came up with the goods, interchange forward Ben Stone bursting through to score right of the goalposts. Donovan converted, giving the Knights a hard-fought 22-18 win.
Newcastle Knights 22 (T: Lamb, Birch, Donovan, Stone, G: Donovan 3/4)
Cronulla Sharks 18 (T: Moraitis, Cummins, G: Isaako 2/2)
1. Bryce Donovan, 2. Fuaimamao Uta, 3. Josh Birch, 4. Braden Robson, 5. Ken Tofilau, 6. Brock Lamb, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Josh King, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Brodie Smith, 12. Jacob Saifiti, 13. Luke Yates (c). Interchange: 16. Faitotoa Faitotoa, 17. Ben Stone, 21. Noah Easton, 25. Tyrone Amey.