Last Time Played: Knights v Tigers
The Tigers scraped home 17-16 in a Monday night, golden-point thriller in front of a near-packed house at Leichhardt Oval in Round 13 last year.
Halfback Robert Lui drew first blood for the home team when he sliced through from close range off a Robbie Farah inside pass for a 6-nil lead after 19 minutes.
Newcastle hit back 10 minutes later when five-eighth Beau Henry stepped his way through some feeble Tigers’ defence 30 metres out, offloaded to centre Junior Sa’u who gave the final pass to Neville Costigan for a four-pointer which when converted levelled the scores.
The visitors silenced the 18,500-strong crowd five minutes before halftime after a stunning try to winger James McManus. The play commenced with Kurt Gidley grubber-kicking into the in-goal down the left edge, with Tigers winger Beau Ryan putting his body between the ball and the Newcastle chasers as he willed the Steeden over the dead-ball line. Junior Sa’u came from the clouds to bat the ball back just as it was about to bounce dead, with McManus on the spot for the grounding.
However, the sides drew level again when Tigers winger Mitch Brown crossed in the left corner off a Tim Simona flick pass on the stroke of halftime.
Newcastle captain Gidley wrested the lead for his side with a clever piece of play seven minutes after the break. He feigned to kick from first receiver 10 metres out, his split-second deception putting the Tigers’ goal-line defenders on the back foot, with a select pass to a charging Antonio Kaufusi reaping rewards.
The Tigers struggled to make further impression before Benji Marshall looped a long pass across the face of the goalposts, with Liam Fulton crashing over from close range to lock things up at 16-all in the 74th minute.
Robbie Farah broke the deadlock in the seventh minute of extra time with a field-goal from dummy-half 20 metres out, the Tigers’ fourth attempt at snatching victory with a one-pointer. Meanwhile the Knights were unsuccessful with five field-goal attempts.
The victory boiled down to a woeful Knights defensive effort in the second 40 minutes, when they missed a staggering 39 tackles.
Farah was the Tigers’ hero with two try assists and the match-winning field-goal, while Akuila Uate was a devastating force for the Knights with 189 metres and seven tackle-breaks.