Rampant Newcastle thrash Gold Coast
Newcastle winger James McManus scored a club-record four tries as the Knights reclaimed eighth spot on the NRL ladder with a crushing 46-16 home win over Gold Coast on Sunday.
The Titans' season of promise hit its lowest note at Hunter Stadium, with star centre Jamal Idris suffering a suspect broken ankle in the fifth minute and Ash Harrison limping off the park early in the second half.
Queensland enforcer Nate Myles was unable to back up from State of Origin, and fellow co-captain Greg Bird might've wished he did the same as Newcastle snapped a four-game losing streak in style.
The visitors struggled to complete sets and knocked-on at will in slippery conditions and their misery was compounded by the Knights' ability to swing the ball left to McManus with devastating effect.
Titans winger Anthony Don fumbled Jarrod Mullen's kick after the game's opening set of six and it proved a telling omen of what was to come.
Halfback Tyron Roberts opened the scoring when he sold a dummy and ducked over himself in the 10th minute, and the Knights poured on five more tries in the opening half.
On three occasions it was McManus who slid over the try-line, terrorising Don and capping off some stellar ball movement to give Newcastle a 36-0 half-time lead.
Roberts helped set up another four-pointer for the 27-year-old just two minutes into the second stanza, meaning the Scottish-born winger joined Andrew Johns and four others as the only men to score four tries in a match for Newcastle.
From there, the procession slowed.
Mullen scored the Knights' eighth try before the Titans finally got on the scoreboard in sensational style in the 68th minute when Kevin Gordon sprinted over 80m after intercepting a kick.
Bird and David Mead crossed in the dying stages, but even that failed to add a modicum of respect to the scoreboard.
The only sour note for the crowd of 9,208 was Newcastle veteran Willie Mason being put on report for a high shot on Titans youngster Sam Irwin.
Roberts slotted six conversions in the wet, and also added another goal after Albert Kelly clattered into McManus with his knees during the former NSW representative's second try.
McManus has 15 tries for the season and is the competition's leading try-scorer.