The Knights remain undefeated after two rounds after thrashing a disappointing Wests Tigers outfit at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Newcastle Knights 26
Tries: Jake Clifford (3), Tyson Frizell (8), Bradman Best (47), Dominic Young (58), Dane Gagai (65)
Goals: Jake Clifford 3 (5, 9, 33)
Wests Tigers 4
Tries: Ken Maumalo (76)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Newcastle Knights were looking to continue their strong start to the 2022 season, but they’d have to do it without David Klemmer and Kalyn Ponga who were ruled out after being named in the side.
The Wests Tigers side came into the game after a first round loss to the Storm in a game where they were competitive.
No Ponga didn’t seem to faze the Knights as they posted first points after Ken Maumalo couldn’t diffuse a contested kick. Moments later the home side scored through a kick from Jake Clifford that deflected off Jackson Hastings and back into the hands of the Knights five-eighth. Clifford converted his own try.
The Knights were in for their second soon after as Adam Clune’s cross field kick was chased through by Tyson Frizell who delicately grabbed the ball to score. Again, Clifford converted, and the Knights had twelve points within the first ten minutes.
It was a case of the good, bad, and ugly for the Tigers in the first forty minutes. They created a few chances, but their handling errors and discipline let them down immensely.
This was exemplified seven minutes from the break with Tyrone Peachey’s sin bin after the Knights were camped on the Tigers line, deliberately interfering in the ruck. Clifford converted the penalty to give his side a fourteen-point advantage.
Jackson Hastings may have a case to answer after a lifting tackle on replacement Knights fullback Tex Hoy, which saw him on report after thirteen minutes.
Newcastle had a blow near the break with Lachlan Fitzgibbon taken from the field with a knee problem.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle Knights 14 Wests Tigers 0Embed from Getty Images
The Wests Tigers had the wind at their backs for the second half as they looked to overcome their fourteen-point deficit.
They applied pressure early with James Roberts, struggling throughout the game with a leg problem, stepping through midfield to put the Tigers in with a chance to get on the scoreboard. A repeat set came after Dominic Young was placed on report for dangerous contact on Ken Maumalo, but it came to no avail after the kick went dead in-goal.
Newcastle scored first in the second half through Bradman Best, put into a gap by Adam Clune on the last tackle after another turnover by the Tigers in the Knights half.
The Knights continued to apply the blowtorch to the Tigers and their lead extended with Young crossing after a play that switched back to the blindside by Clifford. Newcastle now had 22 unanswered points as the game approached the hour mark.
It appeared the Tigers got on the board when Stefano Utoikamanu crashed over from close range, but lost possession over the line after initially being awarded the try by referee Ben Cummins.
But all the luck was with the Knights. Dane Gagai scored after Clifford’s long pass was almost intercepted by Ken Maumalo but landed in the hands of the veteran centre who dived spectacularly into the corner.
Maumalo’s late consolation try was a highlight on an otherwise disappointing afternoon for the Tigers.
Newcastle will go in with a tonne of confidence to their clash with defending premiers Penrith Panthers at Carrington Park in Bathurst next Saturday afternoon.
Michael Maguire has a lot to mull over before his Wests Tigers side meet New Zealand Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium on the opening Friday night game.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle Knights 26 Wests Tigers 4
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Adam Clune (Knights), 2 pts – Jake Clifford (Knights), 1 pt – Tyson Frizell (Knights)
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