The NYC Newcastle Knights defeated the Penrith Panthers 32-24 at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Three minutes in the away side showed their intent when prop Dylan Fuad busted through the line and ran 40 metres. He was brought down thanks to a solid tackle from fullback Nick Meaney, and the Knights were able to regroup in defence.
Two minutes later the Panthers really should have scored when Braidon Burns crossed the line, but Matt Soper-Lawler showed plenty of desperation to tackle him from behind and cause him to drop the ball cold.
A penalty 40 metres out from the Panthers’ line gave the Knights their first attacking opportunity soon after, and in the following set Meaney conjured up some attacking magic to break out of two tackles and get over the line.
Braden Robson missed the conversion, but five minutes later the Knights were over again when Jack Cogger’s deflected kick found the arms of Kainoa Gudgeon. He planted the ball down, but Robson was again unable to convert, leaving the score at 8-0.
16 minutes before half time the Panthers got their first points on the back of a strong set through the middle, centre Caleb Aekins stepping past several defenders to get over the line. Halfback Jarome Luai missed the conversion, but several minutes later the Panthers were over the line again when winger Christian Crichton proved too strong. Luai again missed his conversion on what was proving a terrible afternoon for the kickers.
The Knights weren’t done yet though, and seven minutes before half time Tom Starling came up with a big play when he darted ten metres from dummy-half to get over the line.
The Knights looked like they would go into half time with a six point lead, until centre Dean Blore wrestled his way over on the siren. Luai again missed his conversion to keep the half time score at 14-12.
The Knights came out firing early in the second half, Robson steamrolling several defenders to run 30 metres and score. He added the extras to his own try, and then ten minutes later the good times kept on coming for the home side as Heath Gibbs chased down a Cogger grubber to score.
Seven minutes from time the Knights were over again, Matt Soper-Lawler slamming the ball down in the corner. Robson did well to convert from out on the sideline but the Panthers had the final say in the match, Crichton scoring a minute from time and Luai converting to make the final score 32-24.
Newcastle Knights 32 (T: Meaney, Gudgeon, Starling, Robson, Gibbs, Soper-Lawler. G: Robson 4/6)
Penrith Panthers 24 (T: Aekins, Crichton 2, Blore, Tuigamala. G: Luai 2/5)
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Kainoa Gudgeon, 23. Cory Denniss, 24. Henry Penn, 5 . Matthew Soper-Lawler, 6. Nick Newman, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Tyrone Amey, 9. Tom Starling, 16. Cameron King, 11. Zac Hosking, 12. Sam Stone, 13. Braden Robson. Interchange: 4. Heath Gibbs, 14. Jayden Butterfield, 18. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.