Wade Graham and Niwhai Puru’s contributions led the Sharks to a 28-16 victory against the Knights in the NRL Pre-Season Challenge match held in Gosford on Friday night.
Graham’s composure was critical during the closely contested first half as the Sharks gradually gained control, while Puru made a significant impact with his exuberant play.
The Sharks got off to a strong start by scoring in the fourth minute when Thomas Rodwell capitalized on the team’s smooth ball movement and scored in the left corner. Puru’s successful conversion made it 6-0. The Knights quickly responded with a try by Tyson Gamble, assisted by Lachlan Fitzgibbon’s offload.
The Knights appeared to have taken the lead in the 17th minute with a try by Dylan Lucas, but it was disallowed due to Fitzgibbon’s obstruction in the lead-up. Both teams defended their lines effectively for the next 15 minutes until Puru’s trickery created some space for Mawene Hiroti to score in the 32nd minute, giving the Sharks a 10-4 lead.
Just before halftime, Thomas Hazelton powered over from close range, boosting the Sharks’ lead. Hazelton ran for 56 meters from seven tackles during his impressive stint. Early in the second half, Dan Atkinson scored a remarkable solo try, pushing the Sharks ahead 22-4. The Knights managed to get a consolation try through Phoenix Crossland in the 73rd minute, thanks to Adam Clune and Ben Talty’s sleek work.