Danny Buderus described it as the most frustrating and enjoyable experience of his distinguished rugby league career.
The Knights downed the Wests Tigers 24-18 at Campbelltown on Saturday, allowing Newcastle club legend Buderus to celebrate his first victory as caretaker coach, in his third game at the helm, since taking over from Rick Stone.
Buderus, who played more than 200 games for the club, couldn’t hide his delight after the four-tries-to-three thriller.
It lifted Newcastle off the bottom of the ladder and ahead of now bottom-placed Gold Coast who play Canterbury on Sunday.
“Yeah, it’s the best day of my career, that’s for sure … as a coach,” Buderus said.
“It was the most frustrating and enjoyable experience I’ve had.
“As a player, you are in the game and you can take control a little bit, but when you are up the top there, you are just riding it, it’s so hard.”
Beau Scott came in for praise from Buderus following his amazing tackle on a rampaging Ava Seumanufagai just before halftime.
The Tigers were leading 16-12 and the big Tigers forward looked set to score near the posts when Scott showed incredible strength to hold him up over the line.
“That was a big momentum changer going into halftime … it was a huge play,” Buderus said.
“The guys are still learning and that’s what it’s all about, turning up each week and fighting like that.”
Knights halfback Tyrone Roberts capped a good performance when he sealed the game in the 80th minute with his second try.
The Knights trailed for most of the afternoon and only hit the lead for the first time when Tyler Randall scored on 46 minutes.
The Tigers’ loss was compounded by a knee injury to prop Aaron Woods who was forced off the ground early in the opening half, making a tackle on Akuila Uate when the Knights winger scored in the 13th minute.
Woods spent the rest of the game watching from the bench with an ice pack on his knee and told the television commentators he’d reaggravated some scar tissue.
Taylor, who was hopeful of getting Woods back next week, was proud of his side after losing the representative prop and utility Dene Halatau to a concussion with about 20 minutes remaining.
“There was some really great fight and great toughness considering the players we lost and considering we played on Monday night against Canberra against a big, bruising team,” Taylor said.
The Tigers blasted out to a 10-0 lead after nine minutes with tries to wingers David Nofoaluma and Pat Richards before Uate hit back for the Knights.
James Tedesco scored the try of the match when he pounced on a grubber kick from Mitchell Moses to score the Tigers’ third try before Roberts crashed over for the Knights seven minutes before the break.
The Tigers are one of four teams equal on points with the last-placed Titans with three rounds of the regular season remaining.