A spirited performance from the U20 Thunderbolts saw the young Storm side fall to a narrow 20-27 defeat against Newcastle on the Sunshine Coast.

The game was a tough battle from the beginning with the first points being scored by the Knights in the 15th minute.

Coach Eric Smith’s Thunderbolts seemed to switch up a gear halfway through the first half but couldn’t capitalise on their territorial advantage.

With 10 minutes left in the half, Captain Harry Grant got the Thunderbolts on the score board with a converted try, levelling the scores at 6-6.

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The lead changed once again with the Knights hitting straight back to take a 14-10 lead into the half-time break.

The Thunderbolts dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half and scored two tries on the left edge through Harlan Collins and Jacob Tonge.

It would be the last time the Thunderbolts took the lead in the game with Newcastle fighting back from being 16-14 down to leading the game 26-16.

The Thunderbolts scored a promising try with two minutes left in the game to narrow the score to 26-20 however it was the Knights who had the final saying by kicking a field goal on the fulltime siren.

Eric Smith’s men will face Cronulla in Round 14 on Thursday evening at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

Thunderbolts 20

Tries: Harlan Collins, Jacob Tonge, Kea Pere, Harry Grant.

Goals: Jack Cornford 2

Knights 27

Tries: Matt Cooper, Hayden Loughrey, Eddy Tuliotolava, Mitch Andrews 2.

Goals: Jack Johns 1, Kainoa Gudgeon 2, field goal.