By Robert Crosby
A strong Mounties outfit defeated the Canterbury Cup Newcastle Knights 36-14 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Mounties playmakers Brendan O’Hagan and Tom Starling both scored against their former club, as Newcastle centre Brayden Musgrove bagged a double for the home side.
Coming into the match after breaking a six match-losing streak last week, Mounties started in fine form with Tony Satini (11th minute) crossing in the corner after a superb cut-out pass from Dean Matterson.
Hitting back moments later to level the scores at 6-all, Newcastle props James Gavet and Jirah Momoisea showed tremendous offloading skills to instigate a 50-metre run finished off by Jacob Gagai (15th minute).
Regaining the ascendancy through former Knights junior Brendan O’Hagan (20th minute), the visitors took a narrow 12-10 lead to the change of ends after Brayden Musgrove (34th minute) posted his first try of the season in the closing moments of the first half.
Starting the second half in dynamic fashion, Tongan international Siliva Havili (43rd minute) showed his class to expose the Knights’ goal line defence with a massive dummy to score in his first Canterbury Cup NSW appearance this season.
Asserting their dominance with two tries in quick succession, Royce Hunt (52nd minute) produced a powerhouse effort to charge over from close range, before former Newcastle hooker Tom Starling (55th minute) finished off a left-side attacking raid to establish a 30-10 lead.
Threatening to launch a comeback after Musgrove (63rd minute) finished off a great burst from Tex Hoy to bag his second of the afternoon, Jack Murchie (74th minute) secured the win with a late four pointer before Andre Niko posted a penalty goal on fulltime to see Mounties run out 36-14 winners.