Highlights: Bears v Knights (Rd 23)
For the fourth consecutive week, the Bears defeated an opposition team sitting above them on the ladder – this time a 32-point victory over the fifth-placed Newcastle Knights.
Angus Crichton, Chris Grevsmuhl and Tulsa Saumamoa dominated through the middle in the convincing 52-20 victory, while John Olive was an explosive asset at left centre.
Paterika Vaivai from the Knights and Nathan Brown from the Bears were sent to the sin bin for two separate incidents during the match.
A horrible start for the Bears saw a knock on in the first set of the game, followed by an early penalty that gifted the Knights field position.
Carlos Tuimavave took full advantage by slicing through the Bears defensive line to score the opening try after the ball was shifted towards the left edge.
Bernard Gregorius denied the Knights back-to-back tries thanks to an unbelievable try-saving tackle on Honeti Tuha, before Joel Reddy immediately scored up the other end after a perfect tap on by Olive.
The Bears received a penalty in the 13th minute after Brown was put in a dangerous position, before Nicholls ran the ball through a hole off the back of the penalty to give the Bears a 10-4 lead.
The Knights’ kick pressure was ruthless, with Nicholls being illegally hit late and high on two occasions in as many minutes.
Daryl Millard once again turned field position into points for the Bears after shaping to pass to his outside men, but instead ran the ball himself and used raw power to increase their lead to 16-4.
Latrell Schaumkel matched Reddy’s effort from earlier with an outstanding try-saving tackle, again on Tuha who could not seem to find the try line.
Nicholls almost scored his second try but dropped it over the line, before Musgrove was sent to the sin bin for constant ill discipline.
The Bears immediately took advantage of the extra man, as Schaumkel charged onto a ball at full pace and danced his way through the defence to score.
The Knights finally hit back just three minutes out from halftime after a wonderful flick pass from Pat Mata’utia found Kerrod Holland who went over untouched.
Crichton scored the try of the afternoon just four minutes into the second half after he bumped off three defenders in his 20-metre raid to the try line to score under the posts.
Reddy made it back-to-back tries for the Bears after he received a pass from Millard and evaded various Knights defenders to score his second try of the day.
Olive increased the Bears’ lead to 38-8 in the 58th minute after he shaped to flick pass to Reddy but instead went himself and showed incredible power to get across the line.
The Knights hit back five minutes later after Jaelen Feeney went himself to score a simple try, before Brown was sent to the sin bin for back chat when play re-started.
Like the Bears earlier, the Knights immediately took full advantage of the extra man as Tuimavave ran straight at Millard and unloaded to Mata’utia, who planted the ball down with ease.
Any hope of another Knights miracle comeback was squashed when Saumamoa charged forward and magnificently offloaded to Reddy, who completed his hat trick in the left corner to make the score 42-20.
Some John Olive magic sparked an incredible solo try with five minutes remaining after he picked the ball up from dummy half, ran through a hole and completely burned a Knights cover defender to put the ball down in almost the same position as Reddy did just minutes earlier.
Grevsmuhl showed incredible power on the fulltime buzzer to charge through and offload for Jack Gosiewski to score and bring up the half century for the Bears for the first time this season.
North Sydney Bears 52 (J Reddy 3, J Olive 2, D Millard, J Gosiewski, A Crichton, D Nicholls, Latrell Schaumkel tries; Nicholls 6 goals) bt Newcastle Knights 20 (P Mata'utia, C Tuimavave, J Feeney, K Holland tries; Holland 2 goals) at North Sydney Oval.