Knights’ great start a distant memory

Newcastle’s great start to the NRL season looks a distant memory after the Knights slumped to a third straight loss to Parramatta on Sunday.

The Eels ran out 28-22 winners in an entertaining clash at Hunter Stadium to consign Rick Stone’s side to a third loss in as many games having opened the campaign with four successive wins.

Two late tries from Nathan Peats secured the win but Eels coach Brad Arthur said while he was happy with the two points his side’s inconsistency remains a source of frustration.

“I am cranky that we can do it one week and not the next,” said Arthur after his side got back to winning ways having lost to the Gold Coast and the Wests Tigers in their last two games.

“We had to fight and tough it out to win … we just need to be like that every week.”

In Sunday’s other game Ricky Stuart’s Canberra staged a record comeback to beat Wests Tigers 30-22 at Leichhardt Oval.

The Raiders trailed 22-0 in the first half before hitting back with 30 unanswered points for one of the sweetest wins in the club’s 33-year history.

“Without trying to be silly about it I can’t remember a greater comeback, just the adversity of it,” Stuart said.

“We spoke about it at halftime and it was a decision the boys had and shows the spirit of the joint at the moment.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the players we have in the club.

“It gives us the opportunity to set up the season.

“It gives us a new template. It is amazing what desire and hunger can help you achieve.”

The wins for the Eels and the Raiders moved them to six points for the season – two of seven teams who share that tally.

Melbourne sit at the top of the ladder following Saturday’s thrilling 17-16 win over the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park.

Cooper Cronk’s late field goal sealed the two points for the Storm as the Roosters slumped to a third successive loss that was compounded by a pectoral muscle strain to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves that will sideline the prop for a month.

Skipper Cameron Smith believes the Storm could be on the cusp of another special season with the club aiming for a 12th finals appearance in 13 years.

“I think we’ve got a really strong belief in ourselves and our game plan this year,” he said.

“If we just keep executing that each week that brings consistency, and that’s what we’ve lacked over the last 18 months.

“I think we’ve been quite consistent in all but 50 minutes in the matches we’ve played, so we need to keep that up.”

North Queensland fought back to beat the Warriors 28-24 in a Townsville thriller on Saturday with the Gold Coast thumping injury-ravaged Penrith 32-6 earlier in the day.

St George Illawarra’s resurgence under Paul McGregor continued on Friday with a a gritty 12-10 win over Brisbane securing a fifth straight win for the club for the first time since 2011.

Manly remain anchored to the foot of the ladder after going down 28-16 to Canterbury.

Cronulla and South Sydney play on Monday night at Remondis Stadium.

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