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Knights utility Connor Watson.

It wasn't the complete performance Adam O'Brien was searching for but the Knights coach was otherwise satisfied after the first week of uncertainty for his side came up trumps at Leichhardt Oval.

Newcastle's attack clicked into gear to score 42 points at the empty suburban ground but the 24 points conceded left O'Brien somewhat miffed after he had built built the pre-season on defensive resilience.

Two of the Tigers' four tries came courtesy of Knights errors – an intercept pass thrown by Kalyn Ponga and a spilt ball from Hymel Hunt that allowed the joint venture to skip away and score.

The Knights also surrendered a try with less than a minute left before half-time to give the Tigers a sniff at 18-12.

"There were some moments where I was really happy with our resilience on our line but we had a couple where blokes took their foot of the throat a little bit," O'Brien said.

"I spoke to the boys earlier and any time you get 24 points against – I know one was an intercept and an error coming out of our end – they're a dangerous footy team and we spoke about that.

"I was saying to the coaches it felt like an under-20s game when you'd fly or travel the day of and the scoreline looked like that too," O'Brien said.

"I thought we re-grouped quite well and that's a credit to Junior (Mitchell Pearce) and the senior guys."

Knights captain Pearce starred for the visitors, particularly late when the game was there for the taking.

His solo try in the 63rd minute was followed up with a deft kick to put Enari Tuala over for a double to put the game to bed.

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Knights

The moment was particularly special for Pearce, who was playing in front of his father Wayne Pearce's dedicated Leichhardt Oval hill for just the fourth time in his career.

"It's always great playing at Leichhardt, obviously it was a different atmosphere today but the coach got us on from the start of the week and got us in the right headspace," Pearce said.

"I thought we handled it really well, it's new for everyone not just us. As far as that's concerned it's a big tick for us.

"I thought there were patches we weren't happy with but overall it was good. You've got to look and create it for yourself."

The Knights are confident Mitchell Barnett (shoulder) and Herman Ese'ese (ankle) have only suffered minor injuries and may be available for next week's clash with Cronulla.

"They're saying it's a burner so fingers crossed Mitch is OK," O'Brien said.

"Herman went back on, he jarred up an ankle at the start of the game. I'm a bit more hopeful with Herman than Barney."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours 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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