Mounties continued their undefeated start to the season by overcoming the Newcastle Knights in a 24-22 thriller at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
Mounties did not lead until the 72nd minute but neither team was ever in full control of the contest, which was a very scrappy affair full of errors.
The perfect goal kicking of Mitch Cornish proved to be the difference as the Knights scored five tries to the Mounties’ four but could only convert one of five attempts at goal.
Carlos Tuimavave scored two tries in the opening six minutes, which got the Knights off to a flying start.
The first try was scored in the left corner after a pass from Tyler Randell and the second was off the back of an excellent linebreak by Marvin Filipo. Randell missed both conversion attempts.
Mamo showed his trademark acceleration to score the Knights’ third try after he passed the ball to Tuimavave who handed it back off for him to burst through the defence. Honeti Tuha took the shot at goal and missed, making it 12-0 after 13 minutes.
Mounties hit back in the 18th minute when Dave Cahalane caught a Cornish bomb and got the ball to Patrick Mago, who managed a wonderful flick pass through his legs into the hands of Bill Tupou who put the ball down. Cornish converted to make it 12-6.
Three minutes later, Mamo got taken out in mid air and the Knights got a penalty. However, a disastrous kick meant the ball did not find touch, and the Mounties were suddenly on the attack.
Kurt Baptiste took advantage of the situation and burrowed in from dummy half to get it back to 12-all after Cornish converted.
Josh Allison took the lead straight back for the Knights when he scored in the corner after it went through the hands of Mamo and Pat Mata’utia. Randell took back the kicking duties but missed again and it was 16-12.
This was the score going into half time, but it could have been different as Mounties managed to blow two incredibly easy opportunities just before the break.
The theme of the first half was attack, but for the opening 22 minutes of the second half, no tries were scored and errors began to creep in.
Mamo dropped the ball in open space in the 58th minute but made up for it four minutes later after he charged onto a pass and scored under the posts to extend the lead to 22-12 after the Knights’ first conversion of the day.
The 10-point buffer should have eased the Knights’ frustration. However, it was undone when they dropped the ball off the kickoff.
Baptiste scored his second try off the following set when he strolled in from dummy half through some substandard Knights defence. The try was converted and it was back to 22-18 with 15 minutes to go.
The Knights made some sloppy errors towards the back end of the game. They gave up the lead in the 72nd minute after Wayne Dargan scored on the left side courtesy of a Cornish bullet pass.
It was 22-all and Cornish needed to kick the goal from the sideline to take the lead and despite the pressure of the situation, he slotted the goal with a wonderful kick.
Outstanding efforts by Cornish and Baptiste ensured the Mounties kept their undefeated streak alive.
Mounties will travel to Henson Park next to meet the Newtown Jets who have won four straight, while the Knights will host the Wentworthville Magpies at Hunter Stadium.
Mounties 24 (K Baptiste 2, B Tupou, W Dargan tries; M Cornish 4 goals) bt Newcastle Knights 22 (J Mamo 2, C Tuimavave 2, J Allison tries; T Randell goal)