The Newcastle Knights were beaten 16-14 by the Wentworthville Magpies at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday evening.
Despite the result, it proved to be a very successful trial match consisting of NSW Cup players and NRL hopefuls.
Jaelen Feeney was dangerous from fullback while new recruit Krys Freeman caught the eye at hooker.
A slimmed down Sam Mataora provided plenty of punch through the middle and Nathan Ross was typically irrepressible playing at left centre.
The Knights showed their intent from kick-off, Ross placing a chip in the in-goal at the end of the first set.
That earned the team a repeat set, and minutes later the red and blues scored first points when Pat Mata’utia was played into space on the right edge. Feeney was well wide with his attempted conversion, and five minutes later Wentworthville were over the line when Danny Howard leapt highest in the in-goal to collect a kick. Zach Nichols converted to make the score 6-4.
The Knights continued to dominate possession into the second quarter with Nathan Ross showing the Magpies defence a clean pair of heels in the 23rd minute to run 40 metres and score.
In the 34rd minute Chanel Mata’utia scored more points for the red and blues when he ran onto a cut-out pass from Jack Cogger. Will Pearsall added the extras from out wide, pushing the half-time score to 14-6.
The Knights showed plenty of defensive resilience throughout the third quarter as five back-to-back defensive sets saw them pinned on their own line for a prolonged period of time.
The final quarter started with the scores unchanged and while the Knights regained the upper hand in possession, it was Wentworthville that finished off the scoring with tries to Eli Roberts and Raydon Gillett. Will Roper converted on one count to make the final score 16-14.