The Newcastle Knights have bounced into the Tarsha Gale Cup postseason with a resounding 44-point win over the Parramatta Eels at St Johns Oval.
17-year-old winger Ashlee Russell starred at the Charlestown fields, joining Olivia Kernick and Petria Symington in a brutal opening onslaught against the travelling ladies in blue and gold.
The trio all crossed within two minutes of each other, and with Caitlin Johnston slotting two conversions the scoreline drifted out to 16-nil just seven minutes in to the contest.
Another barrage from the Knights saw them cross in quick succession just seven minutes later, with Zoe Coyne opening this hat-trick of tries before Russell grabbed her second, and front rower Kayla Romaniuk barrelled over the line for the Knights’ sixth.
The pain kept coming for the Eels in the second half, as Jasmine Strange and Caitlan Johnston both etched their names onto the lopsided scoresheet in the 41st and 45th minute, and Russell rounded out her four-try performance in the 55th and final minute of the match.
The ninth round victory for the Novocastrian rep squad has confirmed their place in the Tarsha Gale Cup finals, finishing in second place behind the Illawarra Steelers on point difference.
Newcastle – who ended the nine week season with 16 points, and an 8-1 record across their campaign – are now set to face the Wests Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Laybutt Field in Blacktown.
Read more recent news
- Cardiff centurion Cross leads Hawks to historic win at Pasterfield
- Barker produces moment of magic for Waratahs in Super W decider
- Forsythes edge Wests in opener, end champion’s 672-day winning run
A raft of junior representative fixtures are set to be held at the sporting fields, including the Panthers (6th) vs the Sharks (7th) at 9.30am Saturday morning, and the Raiders (8th) against the Eels (5th) in the afternoon.
The Knights will begin their finals campaign, and their quest to return to the big dance after falling just short in 2018, at 3.15pm in Blacktown.
Newcastle Knights 48 (Ashlee Russell 4, Olivia Kernick, Petria Symington, Zoe Coyne, Kayla Romaniuk, Jasmine Strange, Caitlan Johnston tries; Caitlan Johnston 2, Cody Campbell 2 conversions) def. Parramatta Eels 4 (Tahlia Alexander try).