The Newcastle Knights have progressed to the preliminary finals of the VB NSW Cup after accounting for the Wentworthville Magpies 24-12 in a second-versus-third showdown.
Off the back of a man of the match effort from halfback Michael Dobson and a try-scoring double from fullback Nathan Ross, the Knights were too strong for the Magpies who will now have to play the Wyong Roos next weekend to progress to the third week of the finals.
The scoring plays kicked off in spectacular fashion when a Dobson banana kick was converted to points just inside the dead ball line from Ross in the ninth minute to earn the Knights an early 6-0 lead.
It was all Wentworthville for the next ten minutes afterwards. After forcing two penalties and earning a penalty, Newcastle centre Pat Mata'utia pulled of an absolutely brilliant ball-and-all try-saving tackle on Wenty back-rower Lorenzo Ma'afu. Yet the Knights had no answers in the 26th minute when Wenty crossed for their first points.
A scrum-play initiated Wenty's first points when former Rabbitohs fullback Justin Hunt ran across field to pass off to KJ Mackenzie underneath him. The centre was able to storm through the farcical defence of Dobson and Clint Newton and race away 20 metres to score.
Unfortunately their momentum was halted off the ensuing set when a Wentworthville error allowed Ross to squeeze through the Magpies defence again three minutes later to help regain Newcastle's six point advantage and ensure a 12-6 halftime scoreline.
After setting up the first try of the match, Dobson would score one for himself in the 47th minute when barnstorming front-rower Toka Likiliki busted through the Wenty defence before giving it off to his halfback to race 30 metres down field to score under the sticks.
Nine minutes later, a line break from Newcastle centre James Elias saw the 20-year-old pass off to former Parramatta first-grader Brayden Wiliame to push the score out to 24-6.
Despite Wentworthville scoring a late 80 metre intercept try through winger Jake Butler-Fleming, they barely threatened throughout the second half and will now be faced with sudden football earlier than they would have liked.
In other NSW Cup results, the Penrith Panthers will join Newcastle in week three of the finals after a hattrick from halfback Tom Humble helped dismantle the Illawarra Cutters 42-6.
The New Zealand Warriors and Wyong Roos also extended their season another week after eliminating Mounties and the Wests Tigers to the noise of 38-26 and 26-8 scorelines respectively.
Next week's games:
Wentworthville Magpies v Wyong Roos, Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, Sept 14, 4.00pm (streamed live via nswrl.com.au)
Illawarra Cutters v NZ Warriors, Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, Sept 14, 6.10pm (broadcast live on Fox Sports)