Brave 15-man Tigers down Knights
A brave Wests Tigers outfit has managed a 20-12 win over the Newcastle Knights despite having only 15 men at their disposal for the majority of the game.
Ava Seumanufagai (twice), Elijah Taylor and club debutant Matt Ballin were all subject to concussion tests throughout the game with Seumanufagai and Ballin failing to return by game's end.
Ballin's return to the NRL after nine months would last four minutes when a tackle went awry for the veteran rake.
The Knights were in the game until the final quarter when they were rundown by the depleted Tigers – a completely different story to their 62-0 loss to the Sharks last week.
The Knights were able to end their 211-minute point hiatus in the 32nd minute when Trent Hodkinson scored his first try as a Knight, and even hit a 12-10 lead in the 49th minute when fullback Dane Gagai dummied his way over to score.
But it would all be in vain as Tigers winger Josh Addo-Carr regathered the lead for his side in the 62nd minute after being denied three potential try-scoring opportunities earlier by opposite winger Akuila Uate.
Luke Brooks then scored seven minutes later to mark the eight-point win. It came off the back of magic hands from Tigers' Mr Fix-It Elijah Taylor who afforded his halfback the opportunity to run away with the game.
The Tigers were on song early too and went about peppering the Knights' left-edge. It came up trumps for Mitch Moses who scored the game's first try after 10 minutes who stepped back inside on the rushed Newcastle defence to crash over the try-line.
A beauty of an inside kick from Luke Brooks looked the goods for Jordan Rankin in the 25th minute until he was taken out by Knights co-captain Jeremy Smith.
With everyone expecting the play to stop, the ricocheted ball landed in the hands of Ballin – who only just entered play for his club debut – who managed to plant the ball down on the dead ball line and was denied by the bunker.
The Tigers didn't leave the passage of play without points, with Rankin kicking a penalty goal which proved crucial in the grand scheme of things.
Wests Tigers 20 (Mitchell Moses, Josh Addo-Carr, Luke Brooks tries; Jordan Rankin 4 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 12 (Trent Hodkinson Dane Gagai tries; Trent Hodkinson 2 goals) at Campbelltown Stadium. Crowd: 8658. Half-time: Wests Tigers 10-6. Injuries: Matt Ballin, Ava Seumanufagai (Wests Tigers – both concussion).