Pearce fires in Knights win over Storm

Mitchell Pearce has made a strong first impression at Newcastle by laying on two tries in a 26-22 NRL trial win over an understrength Melbourne.

Pearce set up forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon early on Wednesday afternoon before completing his 40-minute stint with a leading grubber for fellow star signing Kalyn Ponga.

Played behind closed doors at AAMI Park, Ponga also added two conversions to his four-pointer before he too bowed out at halftime with the Knights leading 16-10.

The pair featured in a strong Knights line-up along with fellow new faces Herman Ese'ese, Aidan Guerra, Chris Heighington, Connor Watson and Jacob Lillyman.

Knights coach Nathan Brown was delighted with the first hitout from his new-look side.

"Mitchell and Connor looked really good against Melbourne's better side; they looked threatening and very sharp but as a whole our combinations will take a little bit of time," he said.

"Both our hookers got a good bit of time and Kalyn (Ponga) got 40 minutes at fullback, so it's a good starting point and we'll need to get a lot better.

"We had a lot of young boys playing in the second half as did Melbourne and they didn't have Cameron (Smith) and Billy (Slater) playing."

The Knights claimed a six-point halftime lead on tries to Fitzgibbon, Ponga and Ken Sio, while the Storm countered through Dale Finucane and Tim Glasby.

The visitors then shot out to a two-try lead when Jamie Buhrer touched down on the end of a Brock Lamb kick, only for Kenny Bromwich to pull one back just before the end of the third quarter.

Storm flyer Justin Olam set up an exciting finish when he levelled the scores in the 67th minute, however the Knights prevailed on a last-second try to Thomas Cronan.

The Storm were missing big three Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Will Chambers, while new first-choice halfback Brodie Croft was also kept in cotton wool.

Sam Kasiano made his first club appearance off the bench in an outfit that also included Cameron Munster, Jesse Bromwich, Ryan Hoffman and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Prop Christian Welch also made his comeback from an ACL injury.