Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights won a rematch of last season's Top League championship, again ending Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath's unbeaten season, this time in a 34-17 Japan Rugby League One victory on Saturday.

Wild Knights wing Marika Koroibete was named man of the match for his punishing runs that unhinged Sungoliath's defense from start to finish, while Ben Gunter, who scored the hosts' first try at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, could have earned that honor as well.

Japan international Rikiya Matsuda opened the scoring in the third minute with the first of his five penalties on a day when he scored 19 with his boot.

"We knew this would be a tough game from the start," Matsuda said. "We were able to move well from defense to attack. My teammates forced a lot of penalties, and I'm glad I could fulfill my responsibilities."

Sungoliath fullback, All Black Damian McKenzie, kept the hosts on the back foot from the start with his boot and pace. He converted two early tries and added a penalty as Suntory seized a 17-3 lead less than 20 minutes into the game.

Indiscipline, however, short-circuited Sungoliath's dangerous offense and neutralized the work of McKenzie and Wallaby Samu Kerevi, who was a constant threat.

Gunter scored Wild Knights' first try, on a long throw from a lineout. Hooker Atsushi Sakate crossed in a maul after another lineout just before the half, which ended with some fireworks from both teams but no points with Panasonic leading 20-17.

Three Matsuda penalties made it 29-17 before Koroibete put a cork in this one with a thundering run before passing to Dylan Riley for a 72nd-minute try.

Wild Knights improved to 5-2, including two forfeits when coronavirus countermeasures prevented them from fielding a team in the new league's first two weeks.

"Panasonic brought an excellent game," Suntory captain Ryoto Nakamura said. "We were able to attack the way we want, but were unable to string together our good efforts over 80 minutes."

Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay, who have benefited from two coronavirus forfeits, moved into first place with 41-20 win over Toyota Verblitz. Sungoliath are two points back in second, with Verblitz third on 23 points and Wild Knights fourth on 22.

Elsewhere, Shizuoka Blue Revs beat NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu 34-27, while Kai Ishii's late try lifted NTT Communications Shining Arcs Tokyo Bay Urayasu to a 22-11 win over Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo despite being down a man.