Gold Coast’s marquee signing David Fifita is already showing why he’s worth every cent, becoming the first forward since 2018 to score an NRL hat-trick as the Titans trampled the Knights, 42-16.
It was a brutal afternoon for Newcastle, with Kalyn Ponga’s opening kick-off going out on the full, and Kevin Proctor scoring from the ensuing set, just 97 seconds after the game commenced.
Even the one nice moment the Knights had – local lad Chris Randall scoring his first NRL try – was ruined, with the 25-year-old later taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm.
Coach Adam O’Brien lashed his players in the dressing room at half-time as they went in down 26-12, and would have been particularly bemused by Fifita’s second try, where he tapped the ball from a penalty and ran straight through the defensive line.
But the hairdryer treatment proved ineffective; a late Ponga consolation try their only contribution to the scoreboard after the break.
That came after the returning number one was left in the dust of Fifita’s goose step as the big backrower streaked away to score his third.
The last man to do so was Tariq Sims for the Dragons, in the 2018 finals series against Brisbane.
“For us, last week was very disappointing,” Fifita said post-match.
“We trained hard throughout the week and focused on starting well and I think we did that.”
Newcastle’s Chris Randall scores first NRL try
Fifita praised the work of his left-side cohort, and warned that the best was yet to come from his team.
“It’s only the beginning,” he added after the win.
It was always going to be a tough ask for the Knights, who lost several players last week to injuries – including halfback Mitchell Pearce with a torn pectoral muscle.
It doesn’t get any easier for Newcastle, with the Sharks, Penrith, Roosters and Raiders their next four opponents.