Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Newcastle boasted a number of players who turned out for the Knights at NRL level last year.
But despite that experience the visitors were unable to stay with the Vulcans.
Including just two players with any NRL games behind them - Vodafone Warriors winger Michael Crockett and centre Aidan Kirk - the Vulcans were transformed from the side swamped 34-10 by Wentworthville last weekend and edged out 22-20 by Central Coast a fortnight ago.
They finished the first half with three tries in the space of seven minutes to lead 22-6 at halftime and went into overdrive in the vital third quarter with four more tries to take a commanding 44-6 lead.
It could have been more but for a couple of would-be tries being rubbed out.
Newcastle's only consolation was two tries in the closing minutes of the match.
At Henham Park, Otahuhu:
Auckland Vulcans 44 (Michael Crockett 2, Arron Pawley, Jeremiah Pai, Malo Solomona, Pita Godinet, Raymond Ioane, Karl Guttenbeil tries; William Heta 4 conversions, penalty; Aaron Heremaia conversion).