Four tries to winger Sitiveni Moceidreke has paved the way for a third consecutive win for the North Sydney Bears, as they overcame the Newcastle Knights 30-6 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Luke Kelly, Tom Burgess, Anthony Cherrington were also standouts for the Bears, while Jalen Feeney and Nick Meaney tried their best for the home side. While North Sydney scored some late points, the scorecard ultimately reflected the contest accurately.
The teams took the field on the 27th anniversary of a meeting of yesteryear; the Knights defeated the Bears 13-8 in the 1990 season opener. It was clear from the outset that today's match-up would not be so low scoring, however, and despite some early missed opportunities from both sides it would be the Bears to get on the scoreboard first. Sitiveni Moceidreke finished a simple left-side movement from Noth Sydney and with Eli Levido's conversion missing, they had the 4-0 lead.
Experienced pair Tom Burgess and Anthony Cherrington both looked dangerous but came up just short of the line several times; despite the visitors enjoying an overwhelming bulk of possession on the Knights' line, they were struggling to post more points. Eventually Brad Deitz put Cherrington through a gap and the lock forward dived over between the uprights, resulting in a 10-0 scoreline.
The Bears kept coming and while the Knights' defence held strong for the majority, North Sydney eventually found another way through with just seconds remaining in the first half. Moceidreke crossed for his second and with an unsuccessful conversion, it was 14-0 to the Bears at the break.
With just 36% possession and nine tackles in the oppositions 20-metre zone compared with the Bears' 36, half-time painted a dire picture for the Knights but the scoreline kept them in the contest. The Knights needed to start much better and that they did, with early pressure and a nicely-timed Jaelen Feeney pass giving Peter Mata'utia Newcastle's first try. With Gudgeon converting, they reduced the deficit to 14-6.
With 25 minutes remaining the Bears would hit back and once again it was through Moceidreke; in similar fashion to his first two tries, the winger brought up his hat-trick in the corner. With the conversion waved away it was a 12-point lead for North Sydney.
While the Bears were throwing everything they had at the Knights in the second half, it was a visibly higher-quality period of play as Newcastle continued to hold on. As fatigue began to set in, however, Luke Kelly saw an opportunity and an impressive ball put Moceidreke in for try number four. The game had got away from the Knights - it was a 24-6 scoreline with 13 minutes remaining.
As the contest was winding down, Tautalatasi Tasi put the cherry on top for the Bears with a line-break and try under the posts. Levido converted for a final scoreline of 30-6, leaving the club undefeated in season 2017.
North Sydney Bears 30 (S Moveidreke 4, A Cherrington, T Tasi tries; E Levido 3 goals) def Newcastle Knights 6 (P Mata’utia try; K Gudgeon goal)