Nathan Brown is celebrating his first win as Newcastle coach after the Knights outlasted Wests Tigers 18-16 in a thrilling NRL game at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
In front of a noisy crowd of 21,653, the Knights broke their duck for 2016 and handed the Tigers a fourth straight loss in the process. The win meant the Knights leap-frogged the Roosters to climb off the bottom of the ladder.
The Knights were the beneficiaries of a bizarre incident in the 47th minute, when Tigers winger Jordan Rankin spilled a bomb after Korbin Sims kicked a second ball in his direction while chasing a Trent Hodkinson bomb.
The ball was on the ground near the Tigers’ 20-metre line but, until then, had gone unnoticed.
Referee Gavin Badger ruled a line drop-out for the Tigers but the visitors believed they were entitled to possession from a hand-over.
From the subsequent restart, the Knights extended their lead to 18-10 when winger Nathan Ross scooped up Jarrod Mullen’s grubber kick to touch down in the corner.
The Tigers cut the deficit to 18-16 in the 56th minute when Luke Brooks and James Tedesco combined to create a try for Rankin in the corner, setting up a tense final quarter.
Newcastle were convinced they had wrapped up the match when Aku Uate crossed from a Jaelen Feeney pass in the 76th minute but the try was disallowed because of a Sims knock-on in the lead-up.
Sims had scored under the posts in the 36th minute to give the Knights a 12-10 lead at the break after an exciting, evenly contested first half.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Mitchell Moses put Tedesco over, then the Knights hit back to lead 6-4 when Uate crossed out wide in the 20th minute.
Rankin’s first try came in the 28th minute, which he converted from wide.