The Newcastle Knights edged the Wests Tigers 24-18 at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday afternoon, coming from ten points down to record a thoroughly deserved victory.
While the two teams were well balanced in the first half, the Knights had the lion's share of possession and chances in the second half.
Beau Scott and Tyrone Roberts were particularly impressive for the Novocastrians, but every player in red and blue stood tall with their performance.
While the first few sets from the Knights were solid, it only took the Tigers five minutes to score as winger David Nofoaluma found space on the right edge. Pat Richards did well to convert from the sideline, and four minutes later he was over for a try of his own in the left corner.
Richards' attempted conversion screwed wide this time, but his side still had a ten point lead with only ten minutes gone.
On the back of a penalty the Knights scored their first points six minutes later, Akuila Uate sending several defenders the wrong way to dive over. Roberts added the extras but soon after the Tigers were over again when fullback James Tedesco was first to react to a wicked grubber.
Richards converted to again extend his side's lead to ten points.
With 25 minutes played the Knights looked sure to score again when Nathan Ross found space down the touchline, but the referee called up an apparent forward pass in the build up.
Eight minutes later there was no stopping the red and blues when skipper Kurt Gidley placed a teasing kick between the uprights that Roberts clamped down on for his first try of the season. The little halfback added two more points from the tee to push the score to 16-12.
With 40 seconds left before half-time Ava Seumanufagai broke through the line and looked certain to score, until Beau Scott pulled off one of the try-saving tackles of the season to hold the giant forward up over the line.
The Knights didn't start the second half particularly well with a knock-on, but soon after Tyler Randell picked up the scraps from a tackle on Clint Newton to score near the uprights. Roberts again converted to put the Knights into the lead for the first time.
Five minutes later Richards kicked a penalty goal ten metres out to even the scores, but the Knights continued to dominate possession with repeat sets on the home side's line.
Tariq Sims lost possession over the line with 20 minutes to play, and then six minutes later brother Korbin did the same. The video referee ruled that the ball had been stripped from Korbin though, and the Knights elected for two points from the tee to push them back out in front.
With ten minutes left on the clock it was proving a nervy finish, especially when the Tigers won a scrum 20 metres out from the Knights' line.
The resulting play fell flat however, and with less than two minutes left on the clock Roberts came up with a clutch play to spin off his marker and score. He missed the extras but the Knights recorded the 24-18 victory.
Newcastle Knights 24 (T: Uate, Roberts 2, Randell, G: Roberts 3/4, P: Gidley 1/1)
Wests Tigers 18 (T: Nofoaluma, Richards, Tedesco, G: Richards 2/3, P: Richards 1/1)