Former Hull KR winger Ken Sio scored a hat-trick of tries as the Newcastle Knights snatched a late 22-20 victory over the Wests Tigers at Tamworth’s Scully Park, in the latest NRL match to be taken on the road to Country New South Wales.
It was the Knights’ fourth victory of the season and takes them into the top eight, while the Tigers missed the opportunity to go joint top of the NRL ladder.
It was Kiwi Test star Shaun Kenny-Dowall who grabbed the winner for the Knights three minutes before the final hooter, when he caught a Jamie Buhrer kick to touch down.
The Knights had taken a 10-0 lead in the first half through tries by Sio and Mitchell Pearce, but the Tigers came roaring back with three tries in the first seven minutes of the second half, including one by former Widnes star Corey Thompson. Three conversions by Esan Marsters gave them an 18-10 lead.
Two further tries by Sio and a penalty by Marsters saw the Tigers lead 20-18 going into the final five minutes, but Kenny-Dowall’s score snatched a dramatic victory for the Knights, who are enjoying a dramatic revival this year under former Huddersfield and St Helens coach Nathan Brown.
Wests Tigers: 1 Corey Thompson, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 6 Benji Marshall (c), 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Matthew Eisenhuth, 9 Jacob Liddle, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Josh Aloiai, 12 Robbie Rochow, 13 Elijah Taylor; Interchange: 14 Pita Godinet, 15 Alex Twal, 16 Michael Chee-Kam, 17 Sauaso Sue.
Tries: Chee-Kam, Naiqama, Thompson; Goals: Marsters 4
Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Nathan Ross, 5 Ken Sio, 6 Jack Cogger, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Jacob Lillyman, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Mitchell Barnett; Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer, 17 Jacob Saifiti
Tries: Sio 3, Pearce, Kenny-Dowall; Goal: Ponga
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.