The NYC Newcastle Knights lost 24-18 to the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Friday night.
In a game that mirrored their second half capitulation to the Brisbane Broncos last round the young Knights led 14-4 at half time, but defensive lapses in the second stanza saw them pay the ultimate price.
Despite three early penalties going the way of the home side it was the Knights who scored first points in the 12th minute.
Fuiamamao Uta was the scorer, taking advantage of superiors numbers on the right edge to dive over in the corner. Brock Lamb's sideline conversion veered wide, but it only took the young Knights six minutes to score again.
This time it was Ben Stone who grabbed the points, the utility forward capitalising when the Raiders fumbled a Dylan Phythian grubber. Lamb's conversion again went wide, leaving the score at 8-0.
The Raiders continued to struggle in defence and in the 25th minute the Knights had another chance when they picked up a penalty in front of the uprights. Bradie Smith knocked on in the first play of the following set though, letting the home side off the hook.
Minutes later centre Braden Robson looked to have scored from a Lamb grubber, but the referees ruled that he had been offside.
There was no stopping the red and blues in the 31st minute though when Phythian made another clever kick that Lamb chased down to finally grab his points. Fullback Bryce Donovan took to the tee this time and was successful, pushing the score to 14-0.
The Knights were well and truly dominating the game at this point, but with only eight seconds left to play in the first half they had an unfortunate lapse in concentration that saw prop Cleveland McGhie score in the corner.
From the get-go in the second half the Knights clearly struggled to replicate their dominating performance from the first stanza.
The first warning shot came when Raiders back rower Jack Williams crossed over the tryline in the 51st minute. Fullback Chevi Ellis converted from directly in front, but two minutes later the Knights struck back when Uta grabbed his second of the match.
Donovan's attempted conversion from the sideline went wide, and seven minutes later the Raiders scored again via winger Jack Hickson. Zac Woolford took the conversion for the home side this time but also missed from the sideline, leaving the score at 18-14 with 20 minutes left on the clock.
It didn't take long for the Raiders to score again though, Ellis collecting a brilliant offload from Brenko Lee to dive over six minutes later. In what was proving a bad game for goalkickers Woolford's attempted conversion again went wide to leave the score poised at 18-18.
Both sides pushed in the remaining fifteen minutes, but it was the Raiders that scored the decisive points in the 75th minute, Williams grabbing his second and Woolford making the conversion to push the final score to 24-18.
Newcastle Knights 18 (T: Uta 2, Stone, Lamb, G: Lamb 0/2, Donovan 1/2)
Canberra Raiders 24 (T: McGhie, Williams 2, Hickson, G: 3/4)
Donovan, Uta, Birch, Robson, Tofilau, Lamb, Phythian, King, McNamara, D Saifiti, Smith, Stone, Yates (c). Bench: Kelly, Amey, Fepuleai, Apthorpe.