The NYC Newcastle Knights suffered a disappointing 56-16 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys at Hunter Stadium on ANZAC Day.
It didn't take long for the Cowboys to get on the scoreboard, prop Viliame Kikau crossing over from dummy-half on the back of a repeat set in the third minute. Coen Hess converted, giving the away side an early 6-0 lead.
The young Knights were struggling to create any impetus and the Cowboys almost scored again two minutes later, Scott Schulte fumbling an easy try when fullback Bryce Donovan failed to catch a towering kick.
The Cowboys were made to pay in the next set when winger Fuaimamoa Uta showed exemplary anticipation to intercept a sloppy pass and run 30 metres to score beneath the uprights. Donovan made no mistakes with the conversion, putting the score at 6-6 with eight minutes played.
The Knights continued to build pressure but it was the away side that scored next, Ty Carruci offloading to Hess following a penalty ten metres out. Hess missed the conversion, leaving it at 10-6 at the 20 minute mark of the game.
The Cowboys cracked open the Knights defence again four minutes later, Schulte receiving a pass 20 metres out to score. Hess' kick was accurate, his side now leading 16-6.
The Knights nearly struck back via a Brock Lamb kick in the 25th minute, Uta leaping high on the right end of the try-line but was unable to clamp down on the ball.
Ten minutes later Lamb's kick left a lot to be desired when he was tackled before he could get the ball away. The turnover was barely 40 metres out from his own line and the Cowboys took full advantage, Yamba Bowie busting through the line to score. Hess converted again, the score 22-6 when the half-time siren sounded.
The Knights faced another onslaught from the Cowboys early in the second half and were unable to hold on for long, forward Kikau making a bruising run to force his way over the line in the 44th minute. Hess' conversion was again spot-on, making the score 26-6.
The Knights managed to claw back some possession and territory over the next ten minutes, Jack Cogger placing a nice chip for Uta to hold Gideon Mosby up over the line and earn his side a repeat set. Cogger threatened again in the next set, but once more the Knights were shut out by a resolute Cowboys defence.
The Cowboys bounced back soon after, Bowie slipping through the Knights' defence to score his second of the afternoon. Hess again converted from straight in front of the uprights, pushing the score to 32-6.
Burly centre Akeripa Tia Kilifi was next to score for the away side when he forced his way through in the 58th minute. Hess kicked true, stretching the score to 38-6.
With the help of two penalties the Knights scored six minutes later, advancing 80 metres up the field for Cogger to score beneath the uprights. Donovan nailed the conversion to make the score 38-12.
Celebrations didn't last long for the Knights as the Cowboys scored again a minute later, fullback Bowie finding space on the left touchline to run twenty metres and feed winger Mosby for his first of the afternoon. Hess made it seven from eight kicks, the Knights now on the wrong end of a 44-12 scoreline.
The Knights' right edge combined for a quality try four minutes later, Lamb and Bradie Smith doing well to stretch the ball out wide to a diving Josh Birch. Donovan's kick from the sideline was well wide, leaving the score at 44-16.
With three minutes to play the Cowboys weren't done, winger Schultz putting the ball down in the right corner for his second. Hess again converted, and from kick-off the Cowboys scored yet again, Mosby running fifty metres to score near the uprights. Hess made it nine from ten kicks, giving his side a 56-16 win.
Newcastle Knights 16 (T: Uta, Cogger, Birch; G: Donovan 2/3)
North Queensland Cowboys 56
Donovan, Uta, Birch, Tofilau, Nott, Lamb, Cogger, King, Levi, D Saifiti, Smith, J Saifiti, Yates. Bench: McNamara, Steven, Faitotoa, Stone.