NYC Knights stun table-topping Panthers
The NYC Newcastle Knights defeated the top of the table Penrith Panthers 28-22 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday morning, for their third consecutive win.
The Knights showed a precision kicking game to lead by two-points in the first half and were just able to hold off the Panthers in the second stanza thanks to a determined try from fullback Matt Cooper in the dying minutes.
Three minutes in, Penrith's captain Wayde Egan put the first points on the board before Knights hooker Nash Birch dived through a wall of defence on the line for Newcastle’s first. The scores were levelled at 6-6.
In the 20th minute, Penrith winger Brain Too made a dash down the right side and crossed over for the try, then with five minutes to go in the first half, Hayden Loughrey shrugged off a tackle to slide over for the Knights' second.
The Knights led 12-10 at the break.
At the 45-minute mark, Knights winger Kainoa Gudgeon went down the right side to place the ball over in the corner before fellow winger Mitch Andrews put another try on the board. The Knights led 22-10.
An impressive intercept by Gudgeon saw a dash down field with the help of Heath Gibbs before Panthers Jarome Luai was sent to the bin for dissent.
Although a man down, it didn’t deter the visitors as their skipper crossed over for a double in the 63rd minute and back from the bin, Panthers’ Luai found the line for the try down the middle. Blore successfully converted to level the scores 22-22.
With two minutes on the clock, Newcastle's Loughrey broke free to make a sprint down field as he off-loaded to Cooper to finish it off. Gudgeon nailed the conversion to seal the win for the Knights 28-22.
Newcastle Knights 28 (T: Birch, Loughrey, Gudgeon, Andrews, Cooper, G: Gudgeon 4/5)
Penrith Panthers 22
1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews, 3. Brayden Musgrove, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Hayden Loughrey, 7. Josh Ralph, 8. Cameron King, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Jayden Butterfield, 11. Zac Hosking, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Jack Johns. Interchange: 14. Dylan Clark, 15. Henry Penn, 16. Pasami Saulo, 17. Eddy Tuilotolava.