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A Mitchell Pearce masterclass in front of his dad Wayne's empty Leichhardt Oval hill has steered Newcastle to a 42-24 win over Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

With eager Wests Tigers fans placed on the rooves of houses and standing on make-shift scaffolds in their backyards to watch the game, the 11-try bonanza brought with it plenty of points but work to do for both coaches.

A solo try to Pearce in the 63rd minute gave the Knights an eight-point lead after both sides went try-for-try in the second half with the Wests Tigers refusing to lie down.

Pearce then delivered the knock-out blow to send Enari Tuala over on their left edge for a well-earned double as the Tigers lost their way when the game was on the line.

Earlier, Newcastle skipped to a 10-0 lead inside the first 11 minutes via the astute kicking of Pearce and Jayden Brailey.

Knights centre Tuala pounced on a tap back from Edrick Lee in the air before Mitchell Barnett was awarded a penalty try after he was held back by Reynolds in attempting to snatch a Brailey grubber from close range.

Newcastle looked threatening once more before star fullback Kalyn Ponga threw a pass to David Nofoaluma, who raced 85 metres against the run of play.

The Knights responded to the error in strong fashion nine minutes later when Pearce put Lachlan Fitzgibbon through a hole on the left edge with the back-rower then finding Kurt Mann in support for the visitors' third try of the afternoon.

Among the Knights' best in the first half, Barnett left the field in the 32nd minute with a shoulder injury while Herman Ese'ese picked up an ankle complaint but played on.

Second-half tries to Josh Reynolds and Luciano Leilua had given the home side hope after the Knights led 18-12 at the break but their right edge defence let them down throughout the game.

Wests Tigers forwards Luke Garner (ribs) and Thomas Mikaele (knee) both suffered injuries to compound the headaches for Michael Maguire.

Nofoaluma picks off Ponga


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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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