Rugby League

Luai tunes up for Origin after edging out Knights

June 17, 2024 5:36 am

[Source: NRL]

Jarome Luai once again stepped up as chief playmaker to steer the Panthers to a 26-18 victory over a brave Knights side on Sunday.

Set to head into Blues camp on Monday, Luai ensured his side took another two-points into the bye, with a try of his own and a hand in two others at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Newcastle faithful were on their feet early when rookie Knights fullback Fletcher Sharpe had a moment to savour, running from the back and stepping past Blues pair Luai and Dylan Edwards to open the scoreboard.

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The Panthers hit back in the 13th minute when fill-in five-eighth Brad Schneider produced a pinpoint kick which landed in the lap of Scott Sorensen who powered through to score.

Rookie centre Paul Alamoti added the extras for 6-6.

The Panthers had a second just five minutes later when Luai and Schneider combined to send Brian To’o over untouched in the left corner for a 10-6 lead.

The first half then developed into an arm wrestle with both sides trading sets before Luai stamped his authority, crashing over with a show and go play from close range to take a 14-6 lead to the break.

The Knights’ came up with a costly error in the 38th minute when Dane Gagai was dragged into touch and the Panthers marched downfield before Luai sent towering prop Lindsay Smith crashing over from close range.

Newcastle wrestled back some momentum after the break and grabbed a second try in the 53rd minute when Jackson Hastings sent Dylan Lucas through a gaping hole and the rising backrower powered through to score.

Hastings converted to make it 20-12.

An offside Panthers penalty handed the Knights an extra set on the line and Hastings made sure his side capitalised with a chip to the left for Bradman Best to pounce on and score.

The Panthers gave themselves some breathing room with 15 minutes to play when prop Moses Leota put the burners and powered past several Knights defenders before finding Dylan Edwards in support to ice the 26-18 victory.