The Wentworthville Magpies have been defeated 25-22 by a fast-finishing Newcastle Knights side in the VB NSW Cup on Sunday.
Coming off the back of a welcome win against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Parramatta in Round 6, the Magpies were flying high in the opening half, before the home side pulled off a decisive comeback, ending Wenty’s hopes with a field goal in the final minutes of play, and a penalty goal after the siren.
The confident Magpies outfit sent Englishman Ben Crooks across the line to open the scoring at Hunter Stadium, before Knights utility Jake Finn made a swift break to send hooker Jake Mamo over for Newcastle’s first points.
Playing on the left edge, Fabian Goodall found space on the left edge to duck through for four more points 23 minutes in.
Heading into the break, Wenty capitalised on Crooks’ neat collection of a Knights bomb in goal to move off the 20 metre line and cut upfield. finding open space, it was Crooks again perfectly positioned on the outside to collect the final pass and his second try of the game.
The Knights applied pressure in the dying minutes before halftime, but were unable to keep a hold on the football, and headed to the sheds trailing the Magpies 16-6.
Making his return from injury, spending time at both centre and win, Vai Toutai made his presence known in the second half with a bustling run up the sideline, earning a Wenty restart from 20 metres out. Ben Crooks came close in the corner with an athletic leap, but was bundled into touch before he was able to ground his third try of the day.
It was the Knights who broke the scoring stalemate in the 57th minute, off the back of strong field position and inside the 10 metre line, with a neat right-foot step by Jaelen Feeney through the defensive line to score just to the right of the posts.
Wenty answered back as halfback Luke Kelly made it look easy, stepping through the gap in defence from 30 metres out, before offloading to five-eighth Ryan Matterson to score under the posts.
Newcastle were well and truly coming home with a wet sail as Chanel Mata’utia found the try line in the 68th minute, and with less than ten minutes on the clock, Carlos Tuimavave grabbed a Jaelen Feeney offload to level the scores for the first time in the match at 22-22.
Feeney took the opportunity to slot a field goal with 4 minutes to play, and the Magpies’ last-ditch efforts inside the opposition’s 30 weren’t enough to keep the game alive.
Former Knight Beau Henry was removed from the field in the dying minutes after an uncomfortable collision on the touch line, and a late penalty saw the Knights take a penalty goal after the siren.
Newcastle Knights - 25 (Mamo, Feeney, C. Mata’utia, Tuimavave. Goals - Redman: 1/1. Kerr: 2/3. FG - Feeney: 1. PG - Feeney: 1/1)
Wentworthville Magpies - 22 (Crooks 2, Goodall, Matterson. Goals - Kelly: 3/4)