MATCH REPORT | Newcastle Knights 26-28 Wests Tigers

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The Tigers managed to keep their season alive in a close contest with the Knights.


The first Friday night fixture for Round 19 was an important one for both the Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers. Both sides were looking to turn their recent poor form around and keep their finals hopes alive.

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The game started horribly for the Tigers as Paul Momorovski lost the ball, which resulted in Jesse Ramien being gifted a try in the third minute. This was followed by a piece of individual brilliance from Knights star Kalyn Ponga, who stepped inside when the play closed down outside of him, and beat several of the Tigers players to score in the sixth minute, giving the Knights a 12-0 lead. As the Tigers started to get more ball, they looked more likely to score, and in the 21st minute Corey Thompson scored on the back of an offload from Luke Garner. It only took 13 minutes for Thompson to score his second as he finished off a brilliant play by Luke Brooks, which saw him break through Newcastle’s left edge. Benji Marshall would score next to the posts after a few classic Benji steps, giving the Tigers an 18-12 halftime lead.

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It didn’t take long for the Knights to get back on the scoreboard, as Hymel Hunt scored on the left edge to bring the Knights within two points after a missed conversion by Ponga. The Knights continued to pour pressure on the Tigers for the opening 10 minutes of the half, until an error and then a defensive penalty lead to the 300-game man Robbie Farah burrowing his way over from dummy half to give the Tigers an 8-point lead. The Knights brought it back to two points as Mitchell Pearce put a grubber through, which rebounded off two Tigers and was eventually finished by Tautau Moga to get them within two points. It only took a few more minutes for the Tigers to extend their lead again as Brooks and Moses Mbye combined to put Momorovski over in the left corner in the 63rd minute to give the Tigers a 6-point lead as Mbye missed the conversion. Five minutes later Knights winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored in the right-hand corner as the Knights brought the deficit back to two points after Ponga missed an opportunity to level the game with the conversion. A bizarre event in the last minutes of the game saw Michael Chee Kam leave the field with a serious head knock and Ponga sent to the bin for an apparent shoulder charge. The Tigers managed to hold on for the last few minutes for an important 28-26 win.


Robbie Farah Game 300

The 35-year-old dummy half became the 39th player to reach the 300 game milestone and he capped it off with a try and the win. The Tigers legend has played 274 games for the joint venture, spanning back to 2003, and 26 games for South Sydney from 2017-18. The Tigers hooker also finished with 53 tackles in an 80-minute performance.

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Luke Brooks Coming of Age

The 24-year-old halfback continues to stamp himself on this Tigers side, and was far more prevalent tonight compared to the past couple of weeks. Brooks delivered a try assist, a line break, 110 run metres and 341 kick metres which included a forced drop out. He is slowly becoming the playmaker the Tigers thought he would become.

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Goal-kicking Helps the Tigers

Goal kicking has been a problem for the Tigers this year, with Esan Marsters kicking at a mere 65 per cent this season. The Tigers won tonight’s game with one more conversion than the Knights, as Moses Mbye kicked four from five (although all four were in front). He looks most likely to be the Tigers’ goalkicker for the remainder of the season.

Kalyn Ponga’s Brilliance

The Knights fullback was in sizzling form tonight with a brilliant individual try at the start of the match. His performance may be overshadowed by his sin-binning late in the game, but the 21-year old ran for 151 metres, broke 10 tackles and made a line break – which has become expected off the young star. He has also now scored eight tries in his last nine appearances for the Knights.

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Newcastle Knights 26
Tries: Jesse Ramien, Kalyn Ponga, Hymel Hunt, Tautau Moga, Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Goals: Ponga 3/5
Drop Goals: n/a

Wests Tigers 28
Tries: Corey Thompson (2), Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Paul Momirovski
Goals: Moses Mbye 4/5
Drop Goals: n/a


Newcastle Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Kymel Hunt 3. Tautau Moga 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Mitchell Barnett 12. Sione Mata’utia 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 14. Connor Watson 15. James Gavet 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Jamie Buhrer.

Wests Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Paul Momirovski 3. Moses Mbye 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Robbie Farah 10. Oliver Clark 11. Luke Garner 12. Michael Chee Kam 13. Ryan Matterson. Interchange: 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Alex Twal 17. Chris Lawrence 18. Matthew Eisenhuth.



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