Perhaps not a team that many thought would be in the position they are, the Newcastle Knights have continued their undefeated start to the season, with a win over the Penrith Panthers.
Playing at home, it was a three-try blitz in the first half that set up the win for the Knights and a second consecutive loss for the Panthers.
Playing in bright orange high-vis jerseys to celebrate the Hunter’s own Voice of Mining Day, the win was the Knights sixth straight in the NRL overall.
The start was crucial for the Knights and it left coach Rick Stone pleased with their performance as a result.
“That first 20 minutes really set up our game. We played nice and direct and ran the footy with plenty of purpose,” said Stone.
There was a bit of variation there too and to lead by 18 after 20 minutes is a massive boost in a game.”
As for Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, he was greatly disappointed with the poor start by his side to the match.
“Youâ€™re always concerned about the short turnaround after a big game last Monday night but I didnâ€™t expect it to be that bad,” Cleary said.
Those sentiments were echoed by captain Peter Wallace, who knows just how bad the start was.
“It was a terrible way to start and those first 20 minutes were pretty awful and that was the game over right there and then.”
Having to chase a game is never easy and although he cannot fault their effort, Cleary knows that they made it too hard for themselves.
“I definitely thought we were a chance to [win afterwards]. But the problem starting like that is you are trying to catch up though we certainly had our chances,” Clearly said.
“But when you’re in that catch-up mindset you’re probably not as clinical as you should be I suppose. Look, I thought we were a chance with three minutes to go â€“ but it just wasn’t to be.”
Player of the Game:
3. Akuila Uate
2. Matt Moylan
1. Beau Scott
Newcastle Knights 26 (Chris Houston, Adam Clydsdale, Kurt Gidley, Akuila Uate Tries; Tyrone Roberts 5 Goals) defeated Penrith Panthers 14 (Josh Mansour, Matt Moylan, Dean Whare Tries; Matt Moylan 1 Goal) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 20,114. Half-time: Knights 18-4. On Report: N/A.