The Knights have put their horror week behind them to escape with a 14-10 win over the Tigers, despite a second half fightback from the home side at Campbelltown Stadium.
A galvanized Knights outfit ran amok in the first half, shooting out a three-try lead thanks to a double to Enari Tuala and another to Tex Hoy.
But the Tigers came out of the half time break fired up and tried to Brent Naden and Asu Kepaoa set up a grandstand finish.
But the Knights were able to hang on and end their four-game losing streak… and finally move on from a dramatic week following the David Klemmer saga.
“It seems to have galvanized them, they’ve come with great energy,” Fox League analyst Michael Ennis said of the Knights’ attitude.
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The momentum had well and truly swung in the Tigers’ favor after Asu Kepaoa scored to bring his side within four points of the Knights after being completely carved up in the first half.
The Tigers finally got on the board through Brent Naden but it wouldn’t have been possible without Adam Doueihi’s boot. Doueihi put a giant bomb up that Dominic Young let bounce and Naden was there to snatch it and score. Doueihi converted to shorten the scoreline to 14-6.
Star hooker Jayden Brailey took off before the Tigers’ markers were set and sent Tex Hoy over. Hoy converted to extend the Knights’ lead to 14-nil.
The easy try sparked Fox League’s Michael Ennis to take aim at the Tigers’ “turnstile” defense.
Enari Tuala got his second of the day to extend his side’s lead with Jake Clifford and Bradman Best having a hand in the lead-up.
“Finally playing like Adam O’Brien has been telling us they’ve been training,” Fox League commentator Warren Smith said.
Jake Clifford set up Enari Tuala for the first try of the afternoon with a long grubber kick for the winger to dive on.
“Terrific kick, set up perfectly,” Fox League commentator Warren Smith said.
The Wests Tigers will chase back-to-back wins for just the second time this season when they take on the Knights at Campbelltown Stadium in the final game of Round 21.
The Knights got the bragging rights last time these two teams faced off but a lot has changed since then.
Both are languishing near the bottom of the table, but the Tigers are coming off an inspiring win over the Broncos last week, while the Knights have lost four consecutive games — and are coming off a dramatic few days for the club.
The Knights will be without David Klemmer after the star prop was stood down from selection due to disciplinary reasons in a storyline that has since blown up in the club’s face.
Jacob Saifiti takes Klemmer’s place in the starting pack, while star center Bradman Best makes a welcome return from a thumb injury.
For the Tigers, Jackson Hastings is out for the season, opening the door for young gun Fonua Pole to start at lock.
Filling Pole’s spot on the bench is 27-year-old debutant Tom Freebairn — captain of the Western Suburbs Magpies’ NSW Cup side.
A win for the Tigers will see them leapfrog the Knights on the ladder and move further away from the wooden spoon. But if the Knights get a much-needed win, they will jump to 13th, ahead of the Warriors.
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. Brent Naden 3. Starford To’a 4. Asu Kepaoa 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Jock Madden 8. James Tamou 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Alex Seyfarth 12 Kelma Tuilagi 13. Fonua Pole 14. Zane Musgrove 15. Austin Dias 16. Thomas Freebairn 17. Tyrone Peachey. Replacement player: 18. Junior Tupou
knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Enari Tuala 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Jake Clifford 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13 Mitchell Barnett 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Simi Sasagi 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker. Replacement player: 18. Jack Johns
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