The NYC Hunter Ports Newcastle Knights have scored a healthy 44-24 victory over the Parramatta Eels at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon to improve their already superb start to the season.
The Eels opened the scoring, with James Tuitahi crossing after just six minutes. Parramatta captain Jason Wehbe was unable to add the extras, leaving the score at 4-0 early on.
It didn’t take long for the home side to hit back, with centre Chanel Mata'utia strolling through untouched to bring the sides level. And when Tyler Sullivan converted, the Knights were in front 6-4.
Newcastle winger Lachlan Shipard was looking dangerous throughout the first half, finding plenty of space.
The Eels were threatening our line during the middle part of the first stanza, but some resolute defence held them out.
It didn’t take long for the tide to turn, with the Knights turning defence into attack. Matt Ireland scored a double in as many minutes, Jeremy Ma'a posted four points, and Mata'utia grabbed his second in a late flurry of points.
Sullivan added two more with a penalty right on the halftime buzzer, giving the Knights a solid 28-4 lead at the break.
It was the Eels who started strongly in the second half, with Pauli Pauli scoring under the posts in the 45th minute.
However it didn’t take long for the Knights to respond with Sullivan grabbing one of his own to push the score to 34-10. And when Mata'utia got his third for the afternoon, the Knights looked certain to claim the two points.
The Eels weren’t done yet, with tries to Semi Radradra and Christopher Ulugia closing the gap, but a brilliant pass to James Elias in the 72nd minute put the Knights in again to keep the Eels at bay.
Radradra scored his second with five minutes remaining, but it was too little too late for the visitors, with the Knights scoring a convincing 44-24 win.