Monday's Expert - 2020 NRL Round 19
28 hours ago | Monday's
Defence was not the priority as the Newcastle Knights outgunned the Wests Tigers 42-24 at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
With the future of the NRL in doubt following the AFL's decision to suspend its competition, the two sides ran out for what could be the second-last game of the season for the time being.
The Leichhardt hill may not have been drenched in orange and black like it usually is but the home side were not without the regular cheering squad.
The houses lining Chapel Street were packed while other rusted-on Tigers fans heckled Newcastle players from the fences.
But even their taunts could not stop the Knights from charging to a second-straight win.
It was a far cry from their 20-0 shutout of the Warriors the week prior though as the Knights continually invited Wests back into the contest with soft tries.
Two of the Tigers' tries came directly off errors from Newcastle - the first an intercept which saw David Nofoaluma race away.
A dropped ball then later saw Wests scoop up the ball and score another.
Their two other tries - to Luciano Leilua and Adam Doueihi were spectacular but again capitalised on uncommitted Newcastle defenders.
While Adam O'Brien would have been disappointed with the defensive effort, he would have been pleased with how his side stood up through the middle.
The Tigers ran the most metres of the competition last week but this time around did not even reach 1,400.
Newcastle rolled upfield with ease on Sunday afternoon, with Wests missing 43 tackles.
The lapses in concentration soured what was otherwise a clinical attacking performance from the Knights, who ran in eight tries.
Tigers coach Michael Maguire would have been livid, with their efforts defending kicks in particular leaving a lot to be desired.
Enari Tuala scored the opening try of the game off a Mitchell Pearce kick that was barely contested and in the end that foreshadowed what was to come.
Perhaps Wests could not get themselves pumped up for an empty Leichhardt Oval but if that is the case they have a long way to go with the season to progress that way for the time being.
The victory temporarily lifts Newcastle to top of the ladder while Wests fall out of the eight.
The Knights look to continue their winning ways next Saturday. The Tigers, on the other hand, will aim to bounce back against Canterbury next Sunday.
Wests Tigers 24 - Newcastle Knights 42
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Halftime Score: Wests Tigers 12 Newcastle Knights 18
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - David Klemmer
2 points - Mitchell Pearce
1 points - Connor Watson
WESTS TIGERS (24)
Tries: David Nofoaluma, Corey Thompson, Josh Reynolds, Luciano Leilua
Conversions: Benji Marshall (4/4)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (42)
Tries: Enari Tuala (2), Kalyn Ponga, Mitchell Barnett, Kurt Mann, Edrick Lee, Mitchell Pearce, Connor Watson
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (4/8)
Penalty Goals: Kalyn Ponga (1/1)