Tigers steal win from Knights

It was yet another heart-breaking loss for the Newcastle Knights this afternoon, as the Wests Tigers stole the game to win 23-20 in front of 22173 fans at Hunter Stadium.

The Tigers came out strongly from the very start of the game. Pat Richards put one of his trademark kick-offs into effect, and James Tedesco stole the ball to put his team on the front foot immediately. This put the Knights on notice, and the Tigers managed to cross the line to score after only six minutes. They were all over the Knights for the first quarter of the game, offloading almost at will. The Knights had no answers for the second phase play, and were beginning to tire pretty rapidly. 

The rest of the game was more about the Knights though. Solid defense in the first half led to first half tries to Akuila Uate and Tyrone Roberts, and the Knights led by 10-8 at the break.

Injuries to Braith Anasta, Liam Fulton, Chris Lawrence and Curtis Sironen really tested the Tigers. BJ Leilua also left the field after a throat injury in the first half.

In the second half, the Tigers scored early to take the lead, before the Knights hit back through another try to Uate ten minutes later. The Knights completion rate was great in the second half, but a period of defensive lapses with 10 minutes to go let the Tigers back into the game.

Kurt Gidley was sin binned in the 65th minute, after commiting a professional foul after the Tigers kicked a 40/20. Richards kicked a penalty goal to tie the game up.

A few minutes later, James Tedesco took full advantage of his team's extra player, as he put Chris Lawrence over for a tidy little try, before Pat Richards took the game away from the Knights, firstly through the conversion, and secondly with a field goal that, realistically, he should not have had the opportunity to kick.

The Knights scored a late try through Uate, and declined the conversion attempt, instead opting to give themselves an extra attacking set, but it was to no avail, as the Tigers held on to steal the game.

Match Details
Newcastle Knights 20 Wests Tigers 23
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Crowd: 22173
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 10 Wests Tigers 8

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Pat Richards
2 points - James Tedesco
1 point - Aaron Woods

Tries: Akuila Uate (3), Tyrone Roberts
Field Goals:
Conversions: Tyrone Roberts (2/3)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: James Tedesco, Pat Richards, Chris Lawrence
Field Goals: Pat Richards (1/1)
Conversions: Pat Richards (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Pat Richards (2/2)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

Welcome to Hunter Stadium this afternoon for this clash between the Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers. The Knights will be looking to snag a win, to break their 5 game losing streak.

For the Knights, David Fa'alogo comes into the starting lineup, with Kade Snowden dropping back to the bench. Tigers, and Seumanufagai drops off the extended bench.

Bit of a shower here just before kick-off. Should make the handling of both sides a bit more interesting.

Only moments away from kick-off now. The Tigers will kick off to the Knights to start the match.

1: Richards puts up a sky high kick off to start the game. Tedesco chases hard, and pinches the ball. Great start for the Tigers.

1: Brooks kicks into the in-goal on the last, but Boyd is there to clean up the ball. Let off for the Knights.

3: The Tigers chasing their hand with some passes now, and Simona makes a half break down the right of the field.

4: First penalty of the game goes against the Knights for not being square at marker. The Tigers kick for touch and will use the football from 40 metres out from the Knights line.

5: Big run for Woods, who stands and offloads in the tackle.

Scored by James Tedesco. Kick to come.

Second phase play for the Tigers, and only a few plays later Tedesco steps his way to the line.

Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.

Richards has no trouble with the conversion from just left of the posts. Tigers lead by six early in this game.

8: Lawrence almost away now. He runs down the left edge before being dragged down desperately by Gagai.

8: Not a great last tackle option from Brooks. Mullen cleans up the ball, and the Knights will start their set from near halfway.

10: The Tigers are creating all sorts of headaches for the Knights so far in this game, offloading almost at will. The offload count stands at 8-0 already, and the Knights big men are blowing.

11: Terrible kick chase from the Knights. Nofoaluma takes a pass from Tedesco near his own line, before running the ball almost 80 metres down field. Desperate defence from the Knights - second tackle and the Tigers are already in attacking position.

12: Another penalty against the Knights, this time for not getting off the tackled player fast enough. The Tigers opt for the kick.

Penalty goal attempt by Pat Richards successful.

And once again Richards adds 2 points. The Knights are really struggling so far in this game.

13: The Knights kick off down field towards Anasta, who hands the ball off to Galloway for the hitup.

14: Richards fumbles the ball, and it goes off into touch. Knights with an attacking opportunity now.

15: Interesting penalty here - with the Tigers pinged for not packing into the scrum correctly.

Scored by Akuila Uate. Kick to come.

The Knights spread the ball out to the left of the field now, and an amazing long ball from Boyd hits Uate on the chest and he dives over for a try.

16: And with that try Uate joins Timana Tahu as the top try scorer for the Newcastle Knights. Kick to come.

Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts unsuccessful.

Roberts attempts to add the extras, but pushes the ball off to the left.

17: Rookie error from the Tigers now. Bodene Thompson was in front of the kicker from the kick-off, and the Knights get a penalty on halfway.

18: The Knights send the ball out to the right this time. Gagai attempts to keep the ball alive on the last, but it winds up in Richards' arms.

19: Boyd having a good game so far - big kick return there, hard and fast right into Taupau awaiting him.

20: Mullen kicks high on the last, but Nofoaluma isn't really put under any pressure and the Tigers defuse the situation.

20: Fa'alogo penalised now - he came up with the tackled player still wrapped up after the tackle was completed.

22: Brooks pushes a pass, but it goes to ground and Tyrone Roberts swoops on it.

23: The Knights heavy on attack now - it's the first tackle and the Knights are only 15 metres out from the Tigers line.

23: Three penalties in a row against the Tigers now, and the referee pulls Farah out to have a chat.

25: The Tigers bat the ball over the dead ball line from a Tyrone Roberts kick. Leilua is receiving attention for some form of injury, but I'm not sure what for.

25: Drop out from the Tigers, and the Knights will get yet another set attacking the Tigers line.

27: Mullen kicks high on the last. Braith Anasta leaps high and takes the kick, before having his legs taken out from underneath him by his own teammate and drops the ball. Anasta stays down, but Roberts has claimed a try. Video referee decision pending.

Scored by Tyrone Roberts. Kick to come.

And it's a TRY! Ever the opportunist, Roberts plants the loose ball down, and the Knights tie things up.

Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.

The Knights take the lead, after Roberts converts his own try.

30: Another massive kick-off from Richards drops down on the 20 metre line. Boyd takes it well, admirably protected by several of his teammates.

32: McManus down the right sideline - he's dragged down, but the Knights are still on attack.

32: Roberts puts a grubber through on the last, but Tedesco read it brilliantly.

33: Clydesdale takes the field now, as Kurt Gidley takes a break. This should increase the speed around the ruck for the Knights.

34: Farah milks a penalty from the Knights, and the Tigers will attack from just beyond halfway.

35: Bit of a scuffle breaks out. Buderus is on the field as trainer issuing instructions to Jarrod Mullen.

35: Taupau has been placed on report for a swinging arm, after a report from the touch judge.

35: Roberts kicks in behind the defensive line, and Richards only just manages to tidy it up.

35: Curtis Sironen has just been knocked out after Kade Snowden hits him high in the chin. He's only just come on the field, but he'll be helped straight back off again.

35: Brooks kicks in field now towards Tedesco. Bit of terror for the Knights, but they manage to take the ball safely, eventually.

35: Penalty to Newcastle, and Jarrod Mullen kicks his side out of trouble.

37: The referee rules a line drop out after a bomb from the Knights is knocked dead - but the video referee overrules, and the Tigers will instead take a 20m tap.

38: Horrible pass from Robbie Farah, and the Knights intercept it.

38: Another long ball from Boyd towards Uate, who steps back in field looking for a try. He's dragged down just short of the tryline though.

40: Last play of the half, and Pat Richards puts up a sky high bomb, looking to put some pressure on the Knights. The ball bounces dead.

40: After a massive first 10 minutes for the Tigers, the Knights fought their way back into the game, and lead by two at halftime. The Knights will be looking to speed things up around the ruck in the second half, while the Tigers will be using their second phase play and clever kicking game to keep the Knights under the pump.

41: We're back underway in the second half.

41: Korbin Sims looks to have injured an arm in a tackle.

41: Two restarted sets in a row for the Tigers. Rochow attempted an intercept after a loose Brooks pass, but couldn't take it cleanly.

43: We're going to the video referee, but it looks like a try to the Tigers. We're just checking if there was any interference. The Knights fail to number up on their men out wide. Dane Gagai crept inside way too far, and didn't leave himself time to correct it. Should be a try.

Scored by Pat Richards. Kick to come.

No problem there as far as the video referee is concerned. Pat Richards gets his eighth try of the season.

Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.

Richards converts his own try with no worries at all.

45: Injury update - Braith Anasta has passed his concussion test and will return this afternoon. Curtis Sironen however is out of it, and will not be back. For the Knights, Leilua will not be back this afternoon due to a throat injury. Beau Scott will move to the centres to replace him.

47: Blake Austin attempts a 40/20, but the ball bounces the wrong way, and the Knights field in easily.

49: The Knights kicking game is looking pretty good today - there's been a few occasions where the Knight's long kicking has forced the Tigers to start from very deep within their own half.

51: We've got a injury here at the moment. Chris Lawrence is on the ground with what looks like a leg injury. He's attempting to get back to his feet, but he's struggling.

52: The Knights make a huge break now. Darius Boyd makes a break down field on counter-attack, before giving the ball to Dane Gagai who ran another 30 metres.

Scored by Akuila Uate. Kick to come.

And now Akuila Uate breaks the record for the Knight's all-time leading tryscorer. The Knights spread the ball left, and some nice work from Roberts sends Uate over in the corner.

Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.

Roberts makes no mistake with the conversion.

53: Good defense from Mullen and the Tigers knock the ball on.

53: The Tigers get piggy backed out of their own half, as Uate is penalised for tackling Nofoaluma in the air.

60: And at the opposite end of the field, the Tigers are penalised for the same thing.

60: More injury news, Liam Fulton has failed a concussion test and will not be back.

63: Newcastle's defense is looking very solid in this second half so far.

65: Kurt Gidley has been sent to the sin bin for a professional foul. The Tigers have kicked down field and came up with a 40/20. They opted for the quick tap, but Kurt Gidley ran into the back of the Tigers' player when running back onside.

Penalty goal attempt by Pat Richards successful.

Pat Richards kicks the penalty goal from the resulting penalty, and it's now 13 v 12.

68: The Tigers make three quarters of a break, but a desperation ankle tap from Willie Mason sees the player dragged down. Some schoolyard rubbish play sees the Tigers toss the ball around, before the ball finds its way back to Richards, who...

Field goal attempt by Pat Richards successful.

snaps a field goal! He had no right to kick that, from the sideline and under extreme pressure. But he kicked it. Tigers take the lead.

Scored by Chris Lawrence. Kick to come.

James Tedesco puts together another piece of brilliance now. He finds Chris Lawrence out wide, and the Knights simply didn't have enough numbers to make the tackle.

Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.

Richards puts another one over the dot, and the Tigers lead by 7 points.

73: The Knights get a new set of six only metres from the Tigers line.

75: Wasted set from the Knights. The Tigers run their set through, and then kick for the sideline, just looking to run down the clock.

75: Darius Boyd sets the ball up for McManus, and the Knights almost make a break. On the last, Roberts kicks down the fullback's throat. Gidley is back on the field.

75: Woods makes a massive break down field.

76: Gagai attempts a grubber in behind the line, but drops it cold and the Tigers come up with it.

Scored by Akuila Uate. Kick to come.

Well, perhaps the Knights aren't out of it. Uate sprints down the left side of the field after a mistake from the Tigers. He beats Bodene Thompson, and Tedesco is not quick enough to stop him. The Knights now trail by 3 with 2.30 remaining.

78: The Knights have declined the kick - so they will remain 3 points behind.

78: The Knights send the ball out to the left looking for Uate again, but they throw a forward pass.

80: The Tigers have held on to win this game. It was a brave effort from the Knights. Their completion rate was great, but they just couldn't get the win. In the end it was Pat Richards who was the difference, with his kicking game and goal kicking putting his team in front.