The Newcastle Knights may have fallen foul of Cronulla in the Tarsha Gale Cup 2018 grand final, but this time around the Novocastrian girls were the victors as six tries accounted for the defending champions at Cronulla High School on Saturday.

The 28-12 victory puts the Knights just two points behind their upcoming opponents this weekend, the Illawarra Steelers. It’s a lofty battle for first place that Josh Potapczyk’s outfit is sure to relish as they come into the contest red-hot.

Knights fullback Jorja Holden got the proceedings underway after the first 14 minutes of the game descended into an arm wrestle. Her opening four-pointer was followed minutes later second rower Jada Beale crunching over the line to double Newcastle’s lead.

Petria Symington scored the Knights’ third before the Sharks clawed one back thanks to their commanding hooker Zali Hopkins, but it wasn’t enough for the home team as Newcastle put on the pressure and cracked Cronulla with tries from Ashlee Russell, Bree O’Neill and Joeli Morris in the closing half. Cody Campbell and Caitlan Johnston both kicked a conversion to add four points to the haul.

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The Knights will now turn their attention to the undefeated Steelers, who downed the Tigers 22-18 just last weekend off the back of doubles for winger Olivia Vale and leading half Maddison Weatherall.

Potapczyk has named an unchanged lineup after the Knights’ victory over the Sharks, and believes the clash should be “fantastic”.

“Our next home game against the Steelers in Dudley will be a fantastic game where two great sides will put on some brilliant rugby league,” he told the Chronicle last week. “If fans of the Knights are free, come along to Dudley Oval at 4.30pm and support the girls in red and blue. Should be a great afternoon.”

TEAM LIST: 1. Jorja Holden, 2. Ashlee Russell, 3. Petria Symington, 4. Jasmin Strange, 5. Carissa Harrison, 7. Joeli Morris, 8. Kayla Romaniuk, 9. Bree O’Neill, 10. Cody Campbell, 11. Olivia Kernick, 12. Caitlan Johnston. Interchange. 13. Tanaya Millar, 15. Jada Beale, 16. Ella Buteux, 17. Lily Hanning, 18. Taylor Bateman, 23. Zoe Coyne, 25. Naydine Wahanui.