The Newcastle Knights saw off some late resistance from the Newtown Jets, holding them out to win 28-18 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Jaelen Feeney was outstanding for the Knights in both attack and defence, scoring a try in the first half, before throwing his body on the line to prevent a four-pointer later in the game.
Pauli Pauli made his return to Rugby League after being involved in a car accident earlier this year, while Tony Williams and Sam Tagataese evened out the scales by starting for the Jets.
Some crafty work by Tyler Randell led to the opening try of the day when he darted out of dummy half to take advantage of backtracking defenders, before throwing a ball to a rampaging Jacob Saifiti who crashed over.
After numerous sets on the attack that were brilliantly shut down by the Knights, the experience of Tony Williams struck for the Jets when he ran through a hole adjacent to the posts to lock the scores up.
The Knights hit back almost immediately through Feeney - sporting a large amount of tape on his head – when he stepped off his right foot to cross for a classy four-pointer.
A deflection off a Will Pearsall grubber led to the Knights’ next try, with the bounce of the ball going in the favour of Braden Robson who picked up the scraps and extended their margin to 10.
Edrick Lee pulled off a wonderful try-saving tackle soon after; a classy left-to-right shift gave Kainoa Gudgeon space but the ex-Raider showed him the sideline, much to the appreciation of his teammates.
As Knights were unable to score on the right wing, they opted a more simple approach for their next try, when Josh King pinned the ears back and simply crashed through the Newtown defence to score a classic front-row try under the black dot.
The Jets received three penalties in the final minute of the half, effectively killing any chance of building momentum over consecutive tackles, and they opted to take the two points on offer after the siren sounded, which meant the Knights went into the sheds up 22-8.
On the other side of the break, Newtown got that try they were searching for just before half-time when Manaia Cherrington put in a grubber for Joseph Paulo, who chased through and planted the ball down.
A bell-ringer of a tackle by Feeney prevented a Newtown try, but a shift from sideline to sideline creates space on the left for Jordan Drew to score a simple try.
Excellent teamwork from the Knights stopped Lee from scoring, and to add insult to injury, scored at the other end of the field when Nicholas Meaney ran a wonderful line and set Pat Mata’utia up for a try under the posts to win the game 28-18.