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Knights hold out spirited Cessnock

Brayden Musgrove and Brodie Jones have enjoyed successful returns to the Cessnock area, with the nib Newcastle Knights holding out a spirited Goannas outfit 20-4 at Cessnock Sports Ground.

Played as the concluding event at the hugely successful FanFest, the Knights showed their class by overpowering the Newcastle Rugby League premiers in an entertaining clash.

Featuring a side stacked full of supremely talented young guns and fringe NRL stars, the Knights stayed in control of the brutal contest from the opening whistle.

New recruit Dominic Young enjoyed a strong first outing in red and blue, playing a key role from the wing and crossing for a try in the 11th minute.

Rookie winger Matt Soper-Lawler also enjoyed a strong outing, replacing Young at half-time.

Watch: Dom Young's first try as a Newcastle Knight

Unfortunately Jack Johns enjoyed a vastly different afternoon after being forced off the field in the 15th minute for a HIA.

He didn't return to the field. 

It was a bruising opening 10 minutes, with both sides starting at an intensity not usually seen in a pre-season encounter.

It was the kind of brutality you would expect in a finals game, with the Goannas keen to hold their own in front of a packed local crowd.

However it was Dom Young who was ultimately the difference in the opening stanza, setting up a cracking try for Jacob Kiraz and scoring the opener himself.

A Scott Haynes try in the shadows of half-time kept the Goannas in the game, sending the rowdy Cessnock crowd into raptures.

Watch: Young sets up Kiraz

With many NRL names off the park in the second stanza, Cessnock continued to ask plenty of questions to the more in-experienced Knights squad.

However, the boys in red and blue held firm, with half-back Kobe Davis powering his way over in the 52nd minute to give his side breathing space.

Final quarter tries to Liam Wilkinson and Dylan Lucas sealed an impressive victory, with Coach Adam O'Brien sure to be pleased with what he got out of his troops.

Meanwhile, in the day's earlier games, the Knights SG Ball side ran out 30-24 winners over Penrith in a cracking contest.

The Panthers fought back after going into the break 12 points behind, bridging the gap to just six points inside the final ten minutes.

The Knights were forced to defend their line in the final seconds, with the Panthers having a last-minute four pointer denied by the referee.

The buzzing crowd were eventually in raptures, with the squad holding on for a nailbiting win.

It was a different story for the Harold Matthews in the day's opening game, with the side going down 40-6 to Penrith.