The Newcastle Knights lost 12-8 to the Parramatta Eels in the quarter finals of the 2016 Auckland Nines on Sunday afternoon.
The red and blues came so close to snagging a late win against one of the competition favourites, but mistakes at critical moments ultimately resulted in a four-point loss.
Mountain of a winger Semi Radradra knocked the ball on from kick-off but the Knights weren’t able to make anything of the error.
The Eels ate up 90 metres in their follow up set, young winger Bevan French beating his markers to score on the right edge.
The Knights struggled to make metres in their following sets and Radradra doubled his side’s lead four minutes later when he made a break near the halfway line.
Things got worse in the eighth minute when French found acres of space on the left to grab his second.
Soon after half-time Jake Mamo hauled his side back into contention when he showed characteristic speed and tenacity to clamp down on a speculative kick from Brock Lamb.
Lamb’s attempted conversion went wide, but with three minutes left on the clock Jaelen Feeney scored his first try of the competition to push the score to 12-8.
The Knights gambled with a short kick-off that almost paid off with another try, until Tariq Sims lost the ball just short of the line with seconds left on the clock.
Jake Mamo, Akuila Uate, Sione Mata’utia, Brock Lamb, Joseph Tapine, Korbin Sims, Pauli Pauli, Daniel Levi, Jacob Saifiti, Tariq Sims, Robbie Rochow, Nathan Ross, Jaelen Feeney, Will Pearsell.
Jake Mamo suffered a minor cork injury. No other injuries to report at the conclusion of the Nines tournament.
The Knights take on Parramatta/Wentworthville in a NSW Cup trial match at Number 2 Sportsground in Newcastle on Saturday February 13. Entry to the match is free.