2023 NRL Round 2: Knights 14, Tigers 12

Newcastle have produced a courageous performance to beat the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval


Newcastle Knights 14
Tries: (3) Dominic Young 10th, 60th; Lachlan Fitzgibbon 15th
Goals: (1) Jackson Hastings 12th

Wests Tigers 12
Tries: (2) Asu Kepaoa 33rd; Stefan Otoikamanu 79th
Goals: (2): Adam Doueihi 36th, 79th

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The Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights were coming off opening round losses as Jackson Hastings and David Klemmer faced their former clubs for the first time since leaving.

Immediately the Knights were on the backfoot with Kalyn Ponga knocked cold in attempting to tackle Asu Kepaoa in the opening exchanges. More bad news would follow 14 minutes in with skipper Jayden Brailey suffering the same fate in trying to bring down Charlie Staines.

Despite the setbacks, Newcastle dominated for a good part of the first half and were rewarded through tries to Dominic Young and 100-gamer Lachlan Fitzgibbon to skip out to a ten-point lead.

The sin-binning of Young for taking out Brent Naden, in support of Luke Brooks who made a break down the sideline, led to the most bizarre Captains Challenge in the history of the concept.

Kepaoa got the Tigers on the board near half-time in a play which saw Jackson Hastings put on report for an off the ball tackle on Tommy Talau, who was ruled out under HIA protocols.

Newcastle’s bad luck continued after the break with Tyson Frizell leaving the field with an ankle problem ten minutes after the break.

After a scoreless opening twenty of the second half, the Knights extended their lead through Young’s second after a Tigers error.

The game took a twist with 15 minutes remaining when Jacob Saifiti was dismissed for a high and forceful tackle on Tigers replacement hooker Jake Simpkin.

Stoically the Knights held on until the final minute when Stefano Utoikamanu crossed. Brooks’ two-point field goal attempt on the siren missed, giving the Knights their best win for some time.


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3 – Dominic Young (Knights)
2 – Lachlan Miller (Knights)
1 – Dane Gagai (Knights)

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