Knights overcome Tigers in Game One
The nib Newcastle Knights ran out 18-10 winners over the Wests Tigers in their first game of the 2017 Auckland Nines.
It was an impressive first half from the red and blues, as Ken Sio, Nathan Ross and Sam Stone all scored tries in quick succession.
Brock Lamb was the linchpin for the side, finishing with two try-assists and impressing with his general composure in attack.
The Tigers made good ground in their first set, but their kick on the fourth tackle had too much pace behind it and gave the Knights a 20 metre restart.
The red and blues returned serve with plenty of metres of their own, and Lamb came up with a lovely chip to put Sio through for a try with his first touch in Knights colours.
Two minutes later the Knights were over again with Lamb once more pulling the strings. The 20-year-old half looked as though he was shaping for a kick ten metres out, but instead threaded Ross through for a four-pointer.
With the score at 10-0 the Knights kept pushing for more, and with six minutes gone Nick Meaney popped up at dummy-half toplay the ball to Jamie Buhrer, who got Stone over the line.
On the stroke of half time the Tigers clawed some points back, Michael Chee-Kam grounding the ball despite several defenders clinging on.
With the half time score at 14-6 the Knights found themselves on the back foot early in the second half, until Jaelen Feeney came up with a handy 40-20 in the 13th minute.
It gave the Knights superior numbers out on the wing soon after, but a horror pass gave the Tigers an easy out.
Three minutes from time the Tigers got their second try, Jack Littlejohn crossing over untouched in the left corner. From the restart the Tigers attempted a short kick off but it backfired, with the Knights gaining possession.
Mitch Barnett was the beneficiary, scoring a try on the left edge late in the 17th minute to make the final score 18-10.
1. Pete Mata’utia, 2. Ken Sio, 4. Nathan Ross, 6. Brock Lamb, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Danny Levi, 11. Mitch Barnett, 12. Jamie Buhrer (c), 16. Sam Stone. Bench: 3. Brendan Elliot, 7. Jaelen Feeney, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 13. Luke Yates, 18. Nick Meaney.
Knights 18 (T: Sio, Ross, Stone, Barnett, G: Lamb 1/4)