Knights hang on against terrible Tigers

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Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights

After a promising few weeks, the Wests Tigers break hearts once again in front of a home Campbelltown crowd, going down 14-10.

The Knights got off to a great start, rolling through some poor Tigers defence and seemingly making metres for fun out of their own end. Their forwards were dominant, and kicking options from Anthony Milford and Jake Clifford were outstanding early on. 

An early try for the Knights set the tone for the first half. A lovely grubber through the line from Jake Clifford early in the tackle count found Enari Tuala, who opened the scoring in the corner. They kept up the momentum after points, soaring downfield and creating more opportunities off the back of some beautiful footwork from Dane Gagai, but they couldn't take advantage.

The Tigers got their first real attacking shot at around the 10 minute mark, with Brent Naden finding some space on the wing but dropping it over the line. The Knights kept the pressure on Wests, with a 40/20 kick from Anthony Milford breaking the back-and-forth nature of the game up to that point. Some poor fifth tackle options from the Tigers meant that the Knights were never forced to work it off their own goal-line. 

After a number of sets on the Tigers' line, the Knights got their attack together, and Enari Tuala crossed for his second. Starford To'a rushed in, creating the overlap on the left wing. Clifford missed his second conversion of the day, and the score remained at 8-0, 20 minutes in. Following this, the game went into a bit of a stalemate, until Naden went close yet again before the play was called back for an obstruction.

Tex Hoy got things moving for Newcastle again, taking advantage of more poor Tigers defence. Breaking Adam Doueihi's tackle and stepping around Daine Laurie, Kalyn Ponga's replacement went over under the posts to increase his teams' lead, before Clifford made it 14-0. Some late pressure from the Tigers was withstood by some resolute Newcastle defence, and 14-0 remained the score at half-time. 

The second half began with a much more even grind, with both sets of forwards struggling to make metres. So Adam Doueihi took matters into his own hands, putting up a Burton-esque bomb that eluded Dominic Young, before Brent Naden stormed through to claim his teams' first points of the match. These bombs continued to torment Newcastle's back three, with Hoy dropping one backwards just one set after.

With the halves finding some good kicks, momentum began to shift towards the Tigers, and it wasn't long until they found the line again. Asu Kepaoa slid over at left centre to decrease the deficit at the 65 minute mark. Errors from both sides began to build, as fatigue became more of a factor. 

With 8 minutes to go and a 4 point gap, the game was perfectly poised. A one-on-one strip from Tyrone Peachey turned the tide back towards the Tigers, before a scintillating 40/20 kick from Jock Madden provided an opportunity to level the game. With just three minutes to go, the Tigers fans at Campbelltown thought their team had won the game, with Daine Laurie going over under the posts, only for it to be called back for a knock on. 

The Knights had to hold on for one more minute, with the Tigers just on their own side of halfway. Some good use of the ball meant the team found plenty of metres, and Kelma Tuilagi almost crashed over with less than a minute to go. A six again call only added to the drama, but the Tigers couldn't find the overlap, with Daine Laurie dropping the ball on the last play to seal the victory for the Knights.

The Knights will be looking for consecutive victories when they face the Broncos at Suncorp next round, while the Tigers travel to Tamworth next weekend to meet Cronulla.

Wests Tigers 10 - Newcastle Knights 14

Venue: Campbelltown Stadium, Leumeah
Crowd: 9621
Halftime Score: Wests Tigers 0 Newcastle Knights 14

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Tex Hoy
2 points - Kelma Tuilagi
1 points - Dane Gagai

WESTS TIGERS (10)
Tries: Brent Naden, Asu Kepaoa
Conversions: Adam Doueihi (1/2)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (14)
Tries: Enari Tuala (2), Tex Hoy
Conversions: Jake Clifford (1/3)


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