The NSW Cup Knights showed nerves of steel to win 25-22 against the Wentworthville Magpies at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
With a team that contained five 2014 NYC graduates, the Knights showed plenty of determination despite only ever being in the lead for four minutes during the game.
All three Mata'utia brothers played together for the first time this season, Sione Mata'utia dropping back from the NRL squad to play at centre while Chanel Mata'utia returned from injury to take his place on the opposite edge.
The first great play of the day came from Pat Mata'utia, who intercepted a ball five metres out from his own line to race into the Magpies' half before being brought down.
It was Wentworthville that picked up first points though, Ben Crooks crossing over in the right corner in the 9th minute. Luke Kelly did well to add the extras from the sideline, giving the Magpies an early 6-0 lead.
Following a penetrating run from Jake Finn, fullback Jake Mamo scored his third try in two games five minutes later when he burst through a tackle right of the uprights. Chad Redman's kick was spot-on, bringing the score up to 6-6 with 24 minutes to play in the first half.
Chanel Mata'utia pulled a similar move to his brother two minutes later, palming off his marker to make sixty metres down the right side. Lachlan Fitzgibbon seemed to be the beneficiary when he crossed over at the end of the set, but the referee ruled that he lost contact with the ball as he went to plant it down.
The Magpies made the home side pay in the 23rd minute, Fabian Goodall showing a clean pair of heels to round Chanel Mata'utia and score in the corner. Kelly's kick fell short, leaving the score at 10-6.
Crooks scored his second eleven minutes later, Ryan Morgan breaking through the line and running forty metres to feed the centre for an easy try. Kelly's kick was successful, the score now 16-6 with seven minutes to play in the first half.
The Knights looked to have scored their second in the 38th minute when five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave dummied and dived over, but again the referee ruled a knock-on to leave the half-time score at 16-6.
The first half was characterised by plenty of line-breaks and the second half started in much the same way, Morgan scooping up a Jaelen Feeney grubber to race 60 metres before being hauled down. Crooks looked to finish off the set with a try in the right corner, but Mamo did well to force him out of play as he dived over the line.
Feeney got the Knights back on track with 22 minutes left on the clock, side-stepping a Magpies challenge to score. Danny Kerr was the kicker this time and he converted successfully to push the score to 16-12.
The Magpies' halves combined to devastating effect five minutes later, Kelly dummying his way through the line to feed five-eighth Ryan Matterson for an easy try. Kelly again converted, giving Wentworthville a 22-12 lead with 14 minutes to play.
The Knights refused to give up though, Chanel Mata'utia racing 20 metres to score in the right corner two minutes later. Kerr's attempted conversion struck an upright, leaving the score at 22-16 with ten minutes left to play.
It was the Knights' halves that put on a clinic through the middle in the following set, Feeney breaking through the line 30 metres out to give Tuimavave a try left of the uprights. Kerr made no mistakes with his kick this time, locking the scores at 22-22 with seven minutes to play.
Feeney struck again with four minutes to play, this time via a field-goal barely ten metres out. The score was now 23-22 and the Knights were leading for the first time in the match.
The men in red and blue never looked back, Kerr kicking a late penalty goal to give the Knights a 25-22 win.
Newcastle Knights 25 (T: Mamo, Tuimavave, C Mata’utia, Feeney, G: Redman 1/1, Kerr 2/3, FG: Feeney 1, P: Kerr 1)
Wentworthville Magpies 22.
Ross, Mamo, S Mata'utia, P Mata'utia, C Mata'utia, Tuimavave, Feeney, Mataora, Redman, Vaivai, Fitzgibbon, Filipo, Newton (c). Bench: Kerr, Taylor, Tupou, Finn.