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Match Report: Round 20 vs Knights

Wests Tigers have suffered a 34-18 loss to the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Tim Sheens’ men trailed by just four points in the second half but were unable to mount a comeback as the missed tackle count continued to grow.

Wests Tigers enjoyed an inspired start to the game as they marched seventy metres downfield on the first set and placed an attacking kick into the Newcastle sky.

Jahream Bula rose above Kalyn Ponga to tap the ball towards Tommy Talau, who appeared to cross for the first points of the match.

However, the Bunker determined that Bula’s touch had travelled forward and it was Newcastle who posted the first try of the match instead through Greg Marzhew.

Kalyn Ponga assisted Bradman Best to double the hosts’ lead with a simple right-to-left shift before Dominic Young continued the point scoring with his seventeenth try of the season.

A set restart late in the tackle count then saw Daniel Saifiti crash over for Newcastle’s fourth unanswered try.

Jahream Bula made the most of a rare attacking opportunity by fending away from Bradman Best and stepping past Greg Marzhew on his way to the line.

Marzhew looked certain to reinstate his side’s eighteen point buffer, but was denied by a try-saving tackle from Jahream Bula and Alex Seyfarth.

Wests Tigers were rewarded for their defensive scramble as a Brandon Wakeham grubber kick deflected into the arms of Api Koroisau, who emphatically grounded the ball in the in-goal area.

The try from the skipper cut the half-time deficit to just six points, despite trailing by four tries to two.

A slap to the face of Will Smith saw Knights’ enforcer Jack Hetherington sent to the sin bin to start the second half, but Kalyn Ponga proved unfazed as he stepped through a sliding defensive line to score.

Ponga’s try was quickly cancelled out by Jahream Bula, who took full advantage of a barnstorming run from second-rower Isaiah Papali’i.

Dominic Young doubled his personal tally with a try in the right corner and was in position to complete his hat-trick before Jahream Bula denied the Englishman with another crucial defensive intervention.

However, the Wests Tigers defence could not continue to keep Young quiet as the winger made another break and set up Tyson Gamble for the try that sealed the result.

Despite the loss, Jahream Bula continues to endear himself to the Wests Tigers faithful with the young fullback contributing two tries and two try-saving tackles.

John Bateman again attempted to inspire his side on both sides of the ball, posting a team-high tally in running metres and tackles.

Next up for Wests Tigers is a trip to Wollongong to face the Dragons at WIN Stadium on Thursday night.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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