Newcastle Knights surge to 92-4 victory over the Bulldogs in curtain-raiser for Maitland NRL trial

STRIKE RATE: Knights centre Shenay Ball is in the mix early for the season's top try scorer - she's already crossed the white line five times in just three outings.
STRIKE RATE: Knights centre Shenay Ball is in the mix early for the season's top try scorer - she's already crossed the white line five times in just three outings.

There was no stopping the Newcastle Knights in the Tarsha Gale Cup last weekend, as they romped to a 92-4 win over the travelling Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

Knights’ head coach Josh Potapczyk had promised an entertaining match for the 6526 that turned up for a ‘festival of rugby league’ at Maitland Sportsground, and the women certainly delivered in the day’s curtain raiser.

“It was fantastic, really good atmosphere and that was certainly the biggest home crowd we’ve had,” Potapczyk said. 

“The girls really enjoyed it, and I told them to enjoy it – it’s not every day we have the noise and atmosphere of a big crowd. The girls really had fun with it.”

With three players bagging doubles, and a hat-trick for Skye Pullman, the under 18s representative squad never looked like slowing down.

Attack has been the Knights’ forte in the opening rounds of the competition, with the team notching 174 points in just three outings.

That includes 9 tries for Pullman, and 5 for Shenay Ball, which puts them in third and fifth in the top try scorer race respectively.

“I’m really glad that we could turn it on and show some exciting footy for the fans, and really demonstrate out capabilities,” Potapczyk said.

These girls have some serious talent and don’t mind throwing the footy around. We put on a show for them and that’s the way the game should be played.”

Potapczyk believes the girls can continue their rise in attacking stock, and pointed to centre combo Pullman and Ball as danger points.

He conceded, however, that they could be targeted for their scoring record so far in the competition.

“Both girls can find the line easily, and they bring a lot in attack as our strike weapons in the centres, but we’re looking to spread the attack,” he said.

“We want to make sure that the better teams in the competition can’t double-mark them out of the match and cut off our scoring. Everyone can push for the tries.

“That being said, both girls will be getting early ball because of their strength and speed and they can take on the defensive line and cause a lot of havoc.”

The Newcastle Knights Tarsha Gale Cup squad sits in third place after two hefty victories in the opening three rounds of their debut season.

The Newcastle Knights Tarsha Gale Cup squad sits in third place after two hefty victories in the opening three rounds of their debut season.

The Knights are at home again in the coming round, where they will face captain Sophie Bueller’s old side – the Cronulla Sharks.

The Sharks sit atop the Tarsha Gale Cup table with two wins and a bye round, and defeated the Canberra Raiders 98-6 in round 3.

Kick-off will be at 10.30am, with the game hosted at Baddeley Park, Cessnock.

Knights 92 (Pullman 3, Russell 2, Johnston 2, Glanville 2, Harman, Buller,  Luschwitz, Kernick, Liddell, O’Neill, Morris; goals Johnston 7/7, Buller 5/6, Pullman 2/3) def. Bulldogs 4 (Sio; goals Gregorio 0/1)

This story Knights record 92-4 rampage in Maitland first appeared on The Star.