The Newcastle Knights NSW Cup side lost 12-4 in a trial match against Mounties at Cabramatta on Sunday evening.
In what panned out as a physical contest, both sides would have been happy with their defensive efforts for the majority of the 80 minutes.
Winger Ken Tofilau was a standout for the red and blue, picking up where he left off last year with a try and some strong work in defence.
Tekina Vailea and Josh King were also impressive, making plenty of metres and racking up big minutes.
Jarrod Mullen meanwhile blew off the cobwebs with a 60 minute outing that saw him work his way into the game to display several classy touches.
The Knights were first over the line in the eighth minute when Tofilau finished off a play from the scrum ten metres out.
Twenty minutes later winger Blake Ritchie scored for Mounties and it wasn’t until the 76th minute that the next try was posted, second-rower Steve Tavita punching his way through the line to give his side a 12-4 win.
NSW CUP TEAM:
1. Sam Cook, 2. Ken Tofilau, 3. Jacob Gagai, 4. James Elias, 5. Joel Harrison, 6. Jarrod Mullen, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Josh King, 9. Krys Freeman, 10. Tama Koopu, 11. Bradie Smith, 12. Tekina Vailea, 13. Luke Yates. Interchange: 14. Kurt Aldridge, 15. Brett Jarrett, 16. Michael Steele, 17. Uiti Baker, 18. Ben Stone, 19. Brady Hammond, 22. Danny Kerr, 25. Jack Kelly.
Earlier at Cabramatta, the Under 20 Newcastle Knights defeated the Canberra Raiders 26-22.
The young Knights were trailing 22-6 at the break, before a strong second half that held the Raiders scoreless.
Nick Meaney, Matt Faitotoa, Mao Uta, Henry Penn, Matt Soper-Lawler, Hayden Herbert, Jake McNamara, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Joey Morris, Tyrone Amey, Eddie Tuilotolara, Zac Hosking, Braden Robson. Interchange: Nick Newman, Ryan Glanville, Callan Edwards, Jayden Butterfield, Cameron King, Jordan Pinnock, Viko Puliuvea.