The week off must have done the trick, as the Reserve Grade Newcastle Knights staged a thrilling 24-18 win over a third placed Mounties at Cessnock Sportsground on Saturday afternoon.
While it was tied up at 12-all in the first half, the Knights ramped up their work rate in the second stanza to edge out last year’s runners up in a tough battle.
The red and blues kicked off the day’s scoring with a try via fullback Nick Meaney in the 13th minute before a successful conversion came from Trent Hodkinson.
A handy NRL inclusion for the ISP team, forward Jack Stockwell crossed over in the 23rd minute to stretch the lead before Mounties got their first points thanks to a try from centre Brent Naden.
Not long after it was Mounties’ Sam Duggan to run over beside the post in the 34th minute with Jordan Turner booting the conversion to level the scores 12-all before half time.
After the break, Knights winger Tom Hughes crossed over in the corner before Hodkinson made it number four for the Knights, continuing his precision kicking to stretch Newcastle’s lead to 24-12.
With ten minutes to go, Ro Masivesi Dakuwaqa came off the bench to record another try for the Mounties but it wasn't enough as the Knights went on to record a 24-18 victory in an upset win over the Mounties.
In NRL team news, Trent Hodkinson and Sam Stone have dropped out of the extended squad, with the final 17 to be confirmed an hour before kick off tomorrow.
Newcastle Knights 24 (T: Meaney, Stockwell, Hughes, Hodkinson G: Hodkinson 4/4)
Mounties 18 (T: Naden, Duggan, Dakuwaqa, G: Turner 2/2, Duggan 1/1)
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Tom Hughes, 19. Thomas Cronan, 4. Chanel Mata’utia, 5. Jacob Gagan, 6. Will Pearsall, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Mickey Paea, 23. Tom Starling, 10. Pauli Pauli, 3. Braden Robson, 12. Pat Mata’utia, 13. Jack Stockwell. Interchange: 14. Joey Morris, 15. Bradie Smith, 16. Sam Mataora, 17. Tyrone Amey,
1. Zachary Santo, 2. Edward Aiono, 3. Brent Naden, 4. Dominic Reardon, 5. Kato Ottio, 22. Jordan Turner, 7. Lachlan Croker, 8. Makahesi Makatoa, 9. Glen Buttriss, 10. Royce Hunt, 11. Yileen Gordon, 12. Scott Sorensen, 13. Sam Duggan. Interchange. 14. Kurt Baptiste, 16. Jeff Lima, 17. Magnus Stromquist, 20. Ro Masivesi Dakuwaqa.