It was a nail-biting finish to the NYC Newcastle Knights' match against an in-form Parramatta Eels side on Monday night with the home team coming away 26-24 winners.
“It was pretty hard and think we did pretty well to get ourselves into the game and we tried to stay in the grind and were lucky to come away with it in the end,” Knights’ winger Kainoa Gudgeon told Knights TV in the sheds after the game.
Gudgeon shone on the wing scoring a double which included the Knights’ critical final try.
Then came a high-pressure conversion for five-eighth Jake McNamara which sailed perfectly through the uprights.
The following scenes were jubilant with the entire team racing in to embrace the kicker.
“As soon as it went over all the boys went nuts,” he said.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better bloke.”
Gudgeon was proud of the side’s gritty determination throughout the encounter and believes the win against the top four side builds belief.
“It was pleasing to get the win over them and puts us in stead with the top teams,” he said
The man of the moment, McNamara was beaming after playing such an important part in the young Knights’ thrilling win.
“It feels good," he said in the sheds after the match.
“It was the best feeling in the world.
“They came and surrounded me and I couldn’t breathe. They jumped over the top of me, but it’s the best feeling and it’s the best bunch of blokes.
“I should have kick a couple of earlier ones, but got to love it when you can it put it over in the end.”
McNamara believes team cohesion allowed the Knights to execute their game plan well.
“The team bonded together really well,” he said.
“It wasn’t great at moments and they rolled through us a bit, but in attack, we knew what we were doing and went hard."
The NYC Knights head North to take on the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300 Smiles Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s a short turnaround and a short week, but we will prep good and head up north where it’s nice and warm and will try again,” he concluded.