The Newcastle Knights look set to launch a two-team assault in the upcoming junior representative rugby league play-offs this month.
The highly-talented Tarsha Gale Cup side, sponsored by the NSW Minerals Council, wrapped up the minor premiership at the weekend, despite suffering a shock defeat, while the Harold Matthews squad has an anxious wait, currently positioned in sixth spot on the ladder.
Both outfits will have a week off, with the finals to kick off on 17-18 April.
The club locked horns with the Canterbury Bulldogs last Saturday, with an SG Ball draw the only points accumulated on the day.
Tarsha Gale Cup
Newcastle’s seven-game winning streak came to an abrupt end, going down 22-18 to the Bulldogs.
It was a new-look Knights team taking the field for their final regular season fixture, with the likes of halfback Tamika Bull, back-rower Kayla Waldron and substitute Bianca Blackhall featuring despite not being named on Tuesday afternoon.
Despite fielding a new-look side, Newcastle fought hard and was ultimately unlucky not to come away with the points.
While they may have lost on the day, other results from across the league saw the Knights wrap up the minor premiership after winning seven of their eight clashes.
Canterbury Bulldogs 22 defeated Newcastle Knights 18 (Trapman, Morris, Braizer tries)
It was a similar tale for Mark O’Meley’s men on Saturday afternoon, with the side going down 26-20 in a tight affair at Maitland Sportsground.
Another double to live-wire centre Ethan Ferguson had the Knights right in the contest heading into the closing stages, however the Dogs did just enough to clinch a crucial two points.
While the loss was disappointing, the team is still a chance of playing finals.
Season 2021 only sees the top six contesting the play-offs.
Canterbury Bulldogs 26 defeated Newcastle Knights 20 (Ferguson 2, Linnane, Sharpe tries)
The SG Ball season came to a thrilling conclusion on Saturday, with the Knights holding the second-placed Bulldogs to a nail-biting 26-all draw.
There were impressive performances across the park from the under-19s, who fought hard from the opening whistle against Canterbury, who were themselves fighting for a minor premiership.
While they didn’t manage to hang on to a victory, coach Scott Dureau can be proud of the effort his side made against the competition heavyweights and will have plenty to build on heading into 2022.
Newcastle Knights 26 (Radzievic, Kuru, Jones, Ryan, Butler tries) drew with Canterbury Bulldogs 26
- with newcastleknights.com.au