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The nib Newcastle Knights Under 16s defeated the Illawarra Steelers 40-30 at Hammondville Oval on Saturday in week one of the final series.

Scores were locked at 24-24 at half time, before the Knights ran away with the match in the second half, to secure their spot in the preliminary final in two weeks time.

Standout performers included forward Christian Ma'anaima, fullback Bradman Best and five-eighth Max Buderus, while winger Pat Achurch scored a hat-trick in the first half.

The Knights get a weekend off, before playing in a preliminary final on Saturday April 29.


Newcastle Knights: 40 (T: Achurch 3, Best, Buderus, Meyn, Heaney, Townsend, G: Buderus 4/8)
Illawarra Steelers: 30 (T: Muhleisen, Sullivan, Feagai, Grant, Fletcher, G: Sullivan 5/5)



1. Bradman Best, 2. Malie-J Townsend, 3. Darcy Heaney, 4. Cooper Jenkins, 5. Patrick Achurch, 6. Max Buderus, 7. Kobe Davies, 8. Thomas Affleck, 9. Mitchell Black, 10. Christian Ma'anaima, 11. Riley Meyn, 12. Harry Croker, 13. Jaron Purcell (c). Bench: 14. Ryan Potts, 15. Tyler Doney, 16. Ben Olson, 17. Sione Tuitupou Kutu.


1. Jack Walsh, 2. Hayden Sutton, 3. Mathew Feagai, 4. Max Feagai, 5. Kane Ball, 6. Zach Herring, 7. Jayden Sullivan, 8. Black Dowel, 9. Connor Muhleisen (c), 10. Oliver Parrish, 11. Hamish Holland, 12. Duke Grant, 13. Oscar Fitzpatrick. Bench: 16. Lucas Fletcher, 17. Carlin Deane, 18. Charlie Parrish, 20. Lleyton Roach.