Brendan Wood reviews the Wests Tigers thrilling 24-20 win over the Newcastle Knights in Newcastle. Here’s how the game went:
Tries: Tex Hoy (16) Mitchell Barnett (35) Mitchell Pearce (63), Tyson Frizell (69)
Goals: Tex Hoy (64, 70)
Tries: Tommy Talau (10) Adam Doueihi (21) Stefano Utoikamanu (46), David Nofoaluma (73)
Goals: Adam Doueihi (11, 22, 47, 74)
Player of the Year PointEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Adam Doueihi (Wests Tigers)
2 pts – Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers)
1 pt – Tex Hoy (Newcastle Knights)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The fanfare of Mitchell Pearce’s 300th game was spoiled by a fast start from the Tigers. The visitors had several repeat sets at the Newcastle line and eventually broke through with a try to Tommy Talau. Despite giving up an early try, the Knights were quick to bounce back.
Off the back of a penalty, the Knights spread the ball to the right and Tex Hoy sold a dummy, then cut through the defence to get the home side on the board. However, the celebrations would be short lived for Hoy as he dropped the ball in the following set to gift the Tigers field position.
With the surprise opportunity to attack, the Tigers made the Knights pay. Luke Brooks chipped a kick across field and Adam Doueihi tipped the ball to himself and regathered to score. He converted his own try to extend the Tigers lead to eight points.
Off the next kick off, the Tigers returned the favour as they made an error coming out of their own end. Unlike the Tigers, the Knight couldn’t get payback on the scoreboard. Mitchell Barnett got over the line but lost the ball in the tackle as he was trying to ground it.
The next 15 minutes were an arm-wrestle with both sides unable to make any inroads. With the first half winding down, the Knights got a set restart close to the Tigers line. This time, Mitchell Barnett made sure of a try when he took a short ball from Jayden Brailey and crashed over the line. With Barnett unable to convert his own try, the Knights went into the break trailing the Tigers by four points.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle Knights 8 Wests Tigers 12Embed from Getty Images
The Tigers started the second half in similar fashion to how they started the first – with points. Inside the first 10 minutes they extended their lead when Luke Brooks threw a no-look pass to Stefano Utoikamanu. The young Tigers prop made a barnstorming 30-metre run to score his first NRL try.
After a period of play were the Tigers looked to have gained the ascendency, Asu Kepaoa made an error to allow the Knights back into the game. Off the following set, Daniel Saifiti offloaded to put Connor Watson through a gap. Watson passed to Mitchell Pearce who celebrated his 300th game with a try.
Just six minutes after the Pearce try, the Knights hit the lead for the first time in the game. Tex Hoy found some space and linked up with Tyson Frizell, who busted through a tackle and ran away to score. With the Knights looking like they had stolen a victory, they became their own worst enemy and produced several errors.
Inside the final 10 minutes, Gehamat Shibasaki dropped a bomb close to his own line. The first play off the scrum, the Tigers spread the ball to the right and found an overlap for David Nofoaluma to score. Adam Doueihi converted the try from the sideline to regain a four point lead for the Tigers.
After a tense final few minutes, the Tigers held on to record their first win of the year and hand Mitchell Pearce a loss in his 300th game.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle Knights 20 Wests Tigers 24Embed from Getty Images
Jacob Saifiti – lower leg
Match Review Committee
Alex Twal (Tigers) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Guilty at Judiciary – $2,550 fine.