By Jamie Anderson at Newcastle No.2 Sports Ground
The Newcastle Knights posted their third straight win in the VB NSW Cup when they knocked off Wentworthville in a chilly affair at the Newcastle No.2 Sports Ground on Sunday.
Played in extremely cold conditions and with a strong westerly wind wreaking havoc on spectators and outside backs alike, the Knights lead throughout, and reminded those above them on the ladder that they still may yet have some say in this year’s competition.
Wentworthville looked set to be aided by the wind in the first forty minutes, however they wouldn’t make the most of this advantage, trailing 18-6 at half time.
James Elias continued his good run of recent form when he opened the scoring for the home side in the 5th minute however it was Nathan Ross who scored the try of the day in the 17th minute when the fullback scooped up a Wenty grubber kick on his own try line, got past a desperate Luke Kelly and raced 100 metres into the wind to score a sensational try.
Trailing 12-0, Wenty needed to score next and they did just that in the 28th minute thanks to Liam Foran who was able to burrow over from close range, and with Kelly’s conversion, Wenty had narrowed the margin to just six points.
This was to be as close as the Magpies got however and just before half time, the Knights once again extended their lead to 12 points when Chanel Mata’utia scored a fairly simple try, and with Mantellato keeping his perfect record intact, Newcastle took a 18-6 lead to the sheds.
Returning with the breeze in the second half, the Knights would ultimately seize control of the contest by scoring the opening two tries of the half.
Consecutive tries to Paterika Vaivai and Josh Mantellato saw the Knights shoot out to 24 point lead with 25 minutes left on the clock.
Wentworthville managed to add some respectability to the scoreboard during the concluding stages with tries to Bureta Faraimo and Api Pewhairangi, but they were to be merely consolation tries on a day that the visitors would sooner rather forget.
This weekend the Knights will travel to WIN Jubilee Oval on Saturday to tackle the fourth placed Cutters while Wenty will head home to Ringrose Park on Sunday to host the Bears.
Newcastle Knights 34 (C Mata'utia 2, N Ross, J Elias, P Vaivai, J Mantellato tries; J Mantellato 5 goals) def. Wentworthville Magpies 14 (A Pewhairangi, L Foran, B Faraimo tries; L Kelly goal) at Newcastle No.2 Sports Ground.