With a rash of serious injuries and call ups, the reserve grade Knights were beaten 48-4 by the Illawarra Cutters at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
While the red and blues scored first points, the loss of James Elias and Michael Steele severely depleted the bench. Added to that was a Cutters side on fire and playing with plenty of confidence.
Four minutes in the Knights got off the mark, Pauli Pauli taking the ball from dummy-half to burrow over the line.
Five minutes later the Cutters returned serve, winger Levi Dodd finding space in the left corner to dive over. Neither team was able to convert, leaving the score at 4-4, but soon after Cutters prop Shannon Wakemen grounded the ball between the posts to break the deadlock.
Twenty minutes in centre James Elias was forced from the field and looked in a great deal of pain. Things went from bad to worse soon after as Jacob Host increased the Cutters lead.
One minute before half time the away side improved their lead with a try to hooker Sam Coster near the uprights. Shaun Nona added the extras to make the score 22-4, and early in the second half the injury toll rose for the Knights as interchange prop Michael Steele had to be assisted from the field due to concussion.
The Cutters scored in the very next play, fullback Adam Quinlan finding space on the right. Nona couldn’t convert, but the scoring continued four minutes later as winger Mitch Porter went over the line untouched.
Following a long break in play in which former Knight Damian Sironen was taken from the field in a medi-cab, the Cutters again scored, Quinlan making a break from 40 metres out to get his second.
The away side made it to 40 points with 20 minutes left on the clock via centre Taane Milne, and then eight minutes later Kurt Mann made a break to inflict further damage on the Knights, the final score 48-4.
Knights 4 (T: Pauli, G: Donovan 0/1)