Wests Tigers Intrust Super Premiership side has gone down 46-18 to the Newcastle Knights in disappointing fashion tonight at Cessnock Sports Ground.
In a one-way first half that saw the home side lead by 28 points at the break, David Heath’s side offered a little more resistance in the second half — particularly through interchange props Jordan Grant and Junior Tatola — but it was simply all Newcastle in the end as they held firm to emerge with a commanding victory in the end.
Conceding the first three penalties of the match, Wests Tigers found themselves trailing early in the contest after Tyler Randell crashed over from dummy half. Brock Lamb converted from close range to give the Knights a 6-0 advantage after just five minutes.
The home side looked destined to double their advantage when Tom Hughes broke through the line moments later, before a sensational chase and cover tackle from captain Nathan Milone denied the winger what appeared a certain four-pointer.
It wouldn’t take long, however, for Newcastle to find their second, with lock Tyrone Amey charging on to a short ball before wrestling his way over next to the posts.
Again Lamb converted, giving Newcastle a 12-0 lead after as many minutes of play.
A damaging run from Wesley Lolo saw Wests Tigers hit back in the 16th minute, with the prop forward breaking the line before offloading for Jack Littlejohn to score.
Veiru Mapesone converted from close to the posts, cutting the Knights’ lead to 12-6.
Jacob Gagan would restore Newcastle’s two-try lead not long after with a daring short side play catching Luke Garner out, with Lamb’s missed conversion leaving the score at 16-6. However, he wouldn’t have long to make up for his wayward kick with Tom Hughes capping off a sweeping move to the left edge in the 33rd minute, with Lamb converting from the sideline to give the home side a commanding 24-6 lead.
Garner looked to make up for his mistake when he touched down in the corner, but the final pass from Mapesone was ruled forward by the touch judge and the try denied.
That would prove a bitter blow for Wests Tigers in the context of the match, as off the back of their defensive reprieve, Newcastle worked the ball down field and raced to a remarkable 28-point half-time advantage — Braden Robson and Lamb both crossing off passes from Jack Cogger to give the home side a 34-6 lead at Cessnock Sports Ground.
An error from JJ Felise in the opening set to the second half didn’t help the cause for Wests Tigers, and Newcastle soon made them pay as Cogger’s kick was brilliantly tapped back by Nick Meaney for the five-eighth to plant the ball down after 43 minutes.
Lamb made no mistake from in front, extending Newcastle’s lead to 40-6.
Needing to hit back, it was the interchange big men who brought Heath’s side back in to the contest, with Grant and then Tatola both showing great acceleration to score in quick succession and cut the Knights’ lead to 40-18 with 30 minutes remaining.
One of Wests Tigers’ best on the night, Heleta produced a remarkable try-saver on Meaney to deny the fullback from an improbable angle, but the Knights would eventually cross the following play as Chanel Mata’utia touched down in the corner.
Lamb continued his strong night with the boot, nailing it from the sideline to give Newcastle a 46-18 lead with 20 minutes still remaining in the contest.
A late shot from Pauli Pauli on Littlejohn, which saw the forward placed on report, gave the visitors a late attacking opportunity, but they were unable to turn the chance in to points, ensuring the home side emerged with a dominant 28-point win in the end.
And if you read this far in to the Report, tweet @WestsTigers with #OnTheBusR20 to go in to the draw to win tickets to our Round 20 clash against the Parramatta Eels.
Newcastle Knights 46 (Randell, Amey, Gagan, Hughes, Robson, Lamb, Cogger tries; Lamb 7/8 goals) def. Wests Tigers 18 (Littlejohn, Grant, Tatola tries; Mapesone 3/3 goals)