In blustery conditions the NYC Newcastle Knights were defeated 54-18 by the Melbourne Thunderbolts at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
It was a costly first half for the Knights as the visitors managed to notch up 22 points, but despite picking up the pace in the second stanza Newcastle couldn’t stop Melbourne’s dominant attack as they more than doubled their score line.
It was end to end football early on with a number of mistakes coming from both sides before the Thunderbolts’ Harry Grant opened the scoring in the 16th minute out of dummy half. Jesse Arthars converted and Melbourne led, 6-0.
In the 28th minute the Knights got on the board as fullback Matt Cooper broke free 50 metres out to evade three defenders and cross the line. Kurtis Dark added the extras to level the score line, 6-all.
A 40-20 led to a Melbourne try via Harlan Collins before another one from the Thunderbolts’ Jacob Tonge on the right edge. The visitors led 18-6 after 34 minutes.
Just before half time, Melbourne extended their lead as Arthars scored. The Thunderbolts led 22-6 at the break.
In the second half, Arthars again crossed the line in the 59th minute after he shrugged off several defenders. He converted his own try for Melbourne to push out the lead, 28-6.
65 minutes in, it was a length of the field try from Knights winger Kainoa Gudgeon after an intercepted pass. Dark booted the conversion as Newcastle trailed, 28-12.
Another for the visitors as Louis Geraghty crossed over in the 61st minute to take the Thunderbolts to a 22-point lead but the home side quickly replied as Cameron King crashed through under the posts minutes later. Melbourne led 34-18.
Five minutes later it was Melbourne’s Will Toloi to cruise through on the left side before teammate Jacob Elmore rolled through the pack to touch down with the ball. The Thunderbolts blew the score line out, 44-18.
Grant crossed over for the visitors with five minutes to go before a play after the siren saw Beau Fermor break free and sprint down field for the last points of the match. The Thunderbolts took a commanding win, 54-18.
Newcastle Knights 18 (T: Cooper, Gudgeon, King, G: Dark 3/3)
Melbourne Storm Thunderbolts 54 (T: Grant 2, Collins, Tonge, Arthars 2, Geraghty, Toloi, Elmore, Fermor, G: Arthars 7/10)
1. Matt Cooper, 2. Mitch Andrews, 3. Cory Denniss, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5. Kainoa Gudgeon, 6. Jack Johns, 7. Hayden Loughrey, 8. Cameron King, 9. Nash Birch, 10. Matt Croker, 22. Kurtis Dark, 12. Sam McIntyre, 13. Zac Hosking. Interchange: 14. Luke Huth, 15. Henry Penn, 16. Eddy Tuilotolava, 17. Viko Puliuvea.
1.Scott Drinkwater, 2. Harlan Collins, 3. Jesse Arthars, 4. Sale Finau, 5. Will Toloi, 6. Braydon Trindall, 7. Matt Egan, 8. Jirah Momoisea, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Louis Geraghty, 11. Beau Fermor, 12. Jacob Tonge, 14. Jacob Elmore. Interchange. 13. Caleb Daunt, 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, 16. Dale Madden, 17. Clayton Dodt.