The Newcastle Knights’ junior representative teams enjoyed a successful afternoon at the Cessnock Sportsground at the weekend.
The organisation’s UNE Harold Matthews Cup side edged out the Illawarra Steelers 26-20 while the Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup outfit demolished its rivals 30-0.
The boys’ six-point victory enabled them to move back into the top four, too.
And, the star of the show was centre Ethan Ferguson, who grabbed a hat-trick and booted three goals for a personal haul of 18.
Newcastle started strongly with Harper Collins (5th minute), Jye Linnane (10th) and Ferguson (15th, 29th), plus two conversions, giving the hosts a 20-6 lead at the break.
Sean Trindall posted Illawarra’s lone touchdown, with Kynan Clough adding the extras.
Despite a spirited fightback by the Steelers – scoring three tries late in the second half to Ashton Ward (45th), Dylan Egan (50th) and Trindall (53rd), the home team held on for a vital win with one match remaining before the finals.
Ferguson’s third four-pointer and subsequent goal sealed the triumph.
It was a different story in the girls’ showdown.
Even though the opening period was hard-fought, the Knights enjoyed a 14-0 advantage at the interval.
Tori Brazier (9th), Kyhamoana Tevi-Fuimaono (19th) and Lexi Beagan (23rd) all dived over the line, while Tylah Vallance was on target just once with the boot.
The floodgates then opened afterwards, with Sophie Clancy snaring a double in the 33rd and 40th minutes.
Beagan, and a further two Vallance goals, wrapped up the dominant whitewash.
Unfortunately, the Knights lost the SG Ball Cup fixture 28-12.
HAROLD MATTHEWS CUP
Newcastle Knights 26 (Ethan Ferguson 3, Harper Collins, Jye Linnane tries; Ferguson 5 goals) defeated Illawarra Steelers 20 (Sean Trindall 2, Ashton Ward, Dylan Egan tries; Kynan Clough 2 goals)
TARSHA GALE CUP
Newcastle Knights 30 (Sophie Clancy 2, Lexi Beagan 2, Tori Brazier, Kyhamoana Tevi-Fuimaono tries; Tylah Vallance 3 goals) defeated Illawarra Steelers 0
SG BALL CUP
Illawarra Steelers 28 (Cooper Roberts 2, Syddarys Cassidy, Trey Barlow, Junior Amone tries; Alexander Lobb 4 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 12 (Fletcher Myers, Logan Radzievic tries; Radzievic 2 goals)