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Knights put Klemmer dilemma behind them with gutsy Tigers win

Newcastle have squeaked by Wests Tigers for a hard-fought win that will do much to put one of the worst weeks in their recent history into the rearview mirror.

They raced into a 14-0 lead and then hung on grimly against a Tigers side that gave everything, but ultimately came up short.

In a week that has seen the club torn apart by the revelations surrounding David Klemmer’s outburst at a trainer in last week’s defeat to the Bulldogs, it will have pleased coach Adam O’Brien too see that his side were still so committed to the cause.

Rugby league is a strange game in that the quality of sport on offer is often totally independent of the skill levels of the participants, and that theory was borne out at Campbelltown.

Both of these sides have endured poor seasons, and it looked like it. There were plenty of errors and neither back three seemed enormously interested in catching kicks, but the net result was an entertaining, well-matched game.

The Knights were by far the better side before the break and might have got further in front, but – as is their wont – could not maintain intensity and allowed the hosts to mount a second half comeback.

Newcastle have struggled to score points of late – 12 or fewer in their last three games – but hit the ground running.

Jake Clifford was the architect, sliding a kick through that Enari Tuala reached easily, and the paire combined again on the quarter hour mark to push yet further ahead.

Things were going well at both ends of the park. Twice, Dom Young denied Brent Naden as he dove for the line, before Tex Hoy waltzed through too-weak tackling from Adam Doueihi for 14-0.

Dominic Young. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Bradman Best could have made it even worse for the Tigers, but was held up. Wests did manage a prolonged period of attack to round out the half, but Newcastle defended superbly. It was a good a half as they have produced in a long time.

After the break, however, the tide changed. The hosts were far from fluent but did accumulate ball and pressure.

It took a mistake to get them on the board. Naden finally beat Young after the Jamaican winger had struggled with a towering Doueihi kick, and not long after, Asu Kepaoa sliced through the Knights’ line for another.

Wests had 20 minutes to get another try and threw the kitchen sink at the Newcastle line.

The Knights didn’t help themselves either, continually dropping the ball and invite the Tigers back in.

With seconds to play, they made a break through Kepaoa to get down the Knights’ end, but Mitch Barnett dragged him down. With the line shot out to the right, Jock Madden chose to step back and the opportunity was gone.

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