The NYC Newcastle Knights beat the New Zealand Warriors 24-18 in a tight encounter at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
18-year-old Tom Starling was a standout for the Knights with 51 tackles and a 40 metre try, while prop Tyrone Amey caught the eye with his 187 metres from 16 runs.
The Warriors started the match with the wind in their sails, winger Mathew Faitotoa nearly scoring in the left corner early on but dropping the pill.
With 14 minutes played there were no mistakes from the visitors, Lewis Soosemea jumping highest to collect a bomb and score.
Five minutes later the Knights looked like scoring when Jake McNamara threaded a grubber through the defensive line, but a bat-back from Braden Robson in the in-goal somehow evaded everyone in red and blue.
There was no denying the Knights in the 21st minute though, McNamara collecting his own grubber to get over the line. He added the extras to make the score 6-6, but five minutes before half time the Warriors were over again via centre Marata Niukore.
Three minutes into the second half the Knights got their second try, centre Heath Gibbs proving too strong as he wrestled his way over the line on the right edge. McNamara did well to convert from out wide and even the scores, and then 15 minutes later interchange hooker Starling created a try out of nothing when he made a break from 40 metres out.
Three minutes later the Knights doubled their lead to 12 points, lock Jayden Butterfield wrestling his way over the line and McNamara converting.
The Warriors didn’t give up though, and bombarded the Knights’ line for a prolonged period of time in search of more points. Soosemea came up with a try six minutes from time when he collected a chip in the right corner, and Telea converted to make it a nervy finish.
The Knights hung on in defence though, recording a 24-18 win.
Newcastle Knights 24 (T: McNamara, Gibbs, Starling, Butterfield, G: McNamara 4/4)
New Zealand Warriors 18 (T: Soosemea 2, Niukore, G: Telea 3/3)
2. Dean Kouka-Smith, 22. Sheaziah Compain, 3. Heath Gibbs, 4. Kainoa Gudgeon, 5. Brayden Musgrove, 6. Jake McNamara, 1. Nick Meaney, 8. Tyrone Amey, 9. Nick Newman, 10. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 13. Braden Robson, 12. Sam Stone, 18. Jayden Butterfield. Interchange: 11. Zac Hosking, 15. Tom Starling, 16. Pasami Saulo, 17. Eddy Tuilotolava.