By Brent Ford
Mounties have retained their place on top of the VB NSW Cup ladder following a comprehensive 50-30 victory over the Newcastle Knights at GIO Stadium.
They scored the first points of the game in the 8th minute, as some great passing split the Knights defence open and Jeremy Hawkins was able to score unmarked in the corner.
Mitchell Cornish was able to make the difficult kick to take the Mounties to a 6-0 lead after nine minutes.
Michael Dobson put Mounties under pressure following a good set from the Knights, his kick allowed the Knights to trap Joey Bond in goal for repeat sets at the Mounties line.
They scored on the next set of six as Nathan Ross was able to score out wide after beating a few Mounties defenders. Josh Mantellato added the extras and the game was back all square at 6 a piece after 14 minutes.
Newcastle scored again after Dobson put in a deft kick which split the Mounties defence. Chanel Mata’utia was able to gather the ball and score close to the posts, the conversion was successful and the Knights took a 12-6 lead after 17 minutes.
Mounties regained the momentum through two quick tries. Interchange player Clay Priest was able to jump on a loose ball in the in goal area to score, he then backed up a barnstorming Sami Sauiluma to score his 2nd.
Cornish missed both conversions but Mounties had a 14-12 lead after 28 minutes.
The Momentum continued for Mounties as they got on top of the Knights, Sauiluma showed some fleet footwork close to the line and managed to beat some poor defence to score.
Bond took over the conversions and he too was unsuccessful, but Mounties held an 18-12 lead after 31 minutes.
Dobson sparked the Knights before half time as he was able to break the line and put Brayden Williame away to score in the corner. The conversion was successful by Mantellato to tie the game at 18 all at half time.
Mounties were first to score after half time through Mark Nicholls, however the kicking woes continued as Bond couldn’t convert the extras, giving Mounties a one try lead after 45 minutes.
Jake Foster managed to put Bond through a hole to extend the Mounties lead. Cornish took back the kicking duties, but the result was the same as he missed from the corner.
Newcastle hit back through Ross for his 2nd try under posts, the conversion was successful bringing the game back to 26-24 after 55 minutes.
Two quick tries gave Mounties a healthy lead again. Priest completed his hat trick after picking up a loose pass and Gus Aiga scored as well.
Cornish found his kicking boot as well as he converted both tries to give Mounties a 38-24 lead after 64 minutes.
A cross field kick by Matt Place added more joy for Mounties as Foster was able to gather the kick and score close to the posts, Cornish added the extras and the margin ballooned to a healthy 20 points.
Newcastle managed to get a late consolation try through Mata’utia and Mantellato kept his perfect kicking record intact as he converted from the sideline.
Sauiluma sealed the game when he intercepted an errant Knights pass and marched 80 metres to score under the posts.
Cornish added the extras marking a comprehensive 20 point win for the Mounties.
This weekend Mounties head to Ringrose Park to take on Wenty while the Knights return home to tackle Wyong.
Mounties 50 (C Priest 3, S Sauiluma 2, J Bond, G Aiga, J Hawkins, J Foster, M Nicholls tries; M Cornish 5 goals) def. Newcastle Knights 30 (C Mata'utia 2, N Ross 2, B Williame tries; J Mantellato 5 goals) at GIO Stadium.