The Wests Tigers have thrashed the Newcastle Knights 46-4 at Campbelltown Stadium, keeping their slim finals hopes alive.
The Knights gave the Tigers an early scare when young debutant Bradman Best came close to scoring in the first few minutes. However, he couldn’t pick up the ball cleanly and the Tigers made the most of this missed opportunity. They rolled down the field in their next set and found the opening points through Ryan Matterson, who was able to beat Hymel Hunt to a bouncing ball in the in-goal. The home side got another try shortly after this, but it wasn’t without some controversy. Kalyn Ponga knocked on after getting bumped in the air by Esan Marsters. The referee’s ruled this to be a fair contest for the ball as Robert Jennings found the line to extend the lead to 12-0.
Some more ill-discipline from the Knights led to the Tigers scoring again, when Corey Thompson offloaded late to put Marsters over. Following this, Luke Garner sliced through the defence off a no-look pass from Luke Brooks to push the lead out to 24-0. The home side kept the pressure on by getting multiple repeat sets out of the Knights in the following ten minutes. This led to their fifth try, when David Nofoaluma scored off a Benji Marshall chip kick. The Tigers taking a 30 point lead into the break.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to pick up where they left off. David Nofoaluma found two more tries to earn a hat trick in the first 15 minutes of the half. The Knights were able to hold off the Tigers for the next 10 minutes or so but couldn’t get anything going in attack. Benji Marshall opened the defence once again, throwing a pass for Michael Chee-Kam to crash over and push the lead close to 50 points. Just as it looked like the Knights would be shutout, they finally found something when Aidan Guerra was able to scoop up a loose ball and got over in the corner to put the Knights on the board. Despite this, the Tigers ran out huge 46-4 winners, effectively ending the Knights’ season.
Tigers slaughter Knights in first half
The Tiger were hoping for a strong first half against a desperate Knights team and they certainly delivered. Every time the Knights made a mistake, the Tigers were quick to make them pay on the scoreboard. They scored five tries in the first half alone, which is the most they’ve scored in a first half all year. Every pass was crisp, and every kick was on point. It was nothing short of a demolition and very embarrassing for the Knights.
Controversial call sparks the rot for Newcastle
At 8-0 down, the Knights were still in with a chance to make a run at winning this game. Kalyn Ponga made a catch on a Luke Brooks bomb, but was bumped by Esan Marsters, causing him to lose the ball. The video referee ruled that Marsters was going for the ball, even though it was clear he was not looking at the footy. If a penalty was awarded instead of a try in that situation, who knows what might have happened with the momentum swinging back in the Knights’ favour.
The brilliance of Brooks and Benji
Luke Brooks and Benji Marshall took complete control of this game from the get-go. Every time they touched the ball there were attacking opportunities a plenty. Marshall even started the game at hooker, but this only seemed to increase his energy and involvement. It was an absolute attacking masterclass from the two Tigers halves. They both were instrumental in picking the Knights apart with their kicking and passing games both on show. If these two can combine like this each week, the Tigers have a very good chance of sneaking into the finals.
Self-destruction ends finals hopes for Knights
Despite the Tigers playing some good footy, the Knights didn’t do anything to help their situation. They made a few errors and gave away several penalties to give the Tigers easy metres and field position. With this loss, the Knights season is now over as they will not be able to make the finals for another year. After playing so well earlier this year, Newcastle fans will be left feeling extremely disappointed about the way their team faded away in this game, and in the back end of the season.
Wests Tigers 46
Tries: Nofoaluma 3, Matterson, Jennings, Marsters, Garner, Chee-Kam
Goals: Momirovski 7/9
Drop Goals: n/a
Newcastle Knights 4
Goals: Lino 0/1
Drop Goals: n/a
Wests Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Robert Jennings 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 13. Ryan Matterson 7. Luke Brooks 8. Thomas Mikaele 6. Benji Marshall 10. Oliver Clark 11. Luke Garner 12. Chris Lawrence 14. Matt Eisenhuth Bench: 9. Josh Reynolds 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Alex Twal 17. Michael Chee-Kam
Newcastle Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 20. Bradman Best 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Sione Mata’utia 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 21. Tim Glasby Bench: 13. Josh King 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Jacob Saifiti 17. Aidan Guerra