Knights steal late NRL win from Tigers

Matt Encarnacion

A 79th-minute try to Shaun Kenny-Dowall has given Newcastle a stunning 22-20 comeback win over the Wests Tigers to move into the NRL top eight.

The Tigers were leading by two points late on Saturday when Jamie Buhrer, with Mitchell Pearce off the field with concussion, kicked for Kenny-Dowall in the corner to steal a miracle victory.

It appeared the Knights had wasted a 10-point halftime lead when the Tigers came out of the sheds and scored three tries in five minutes to surge to an 18-10 lead.

But a last-ditch play from Buhrer gave the Knights their fourth win of the season, and also ended the Tigers' winning streak at three in dramatic circumstances.

Knights winger Ken Sio was an unlikely hero in front of the 10,082 crowd in Tamworth, finishing with his first-career hat-trick to save the goalkicking blemishes of star fullback Kalyn Ponga.

Ponga's wayward kicking appeared to have cost them the two points after converting just one of five attempts before Kenny-Dowall's heroics.

The win lifted Newcastle back into the top eight on four wins. The Tigers missed an opportunity to join St George Illawarra and the Warriors at the top of the table and remained in fourth spot.

The Knights had the upper hand at halftime after a solid opening 40 minutes, beginning with Ponga's sublime cutout for Sio to draw first blood in the 21st minute.

Knights forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon fumbled an opportunity not long after, but concussion tests for Jacob Liddle and Benji Marshall paved the way for more shots at the Tigers' line.

And Pearce didn't need a second invitation, slicing through in the 34th minute to give the Knights a 10-point lead at the break.

Marshall's return immediately paid dividends for the hosts, with the reborn playmaker bombing for Kevin Naiqama and chipping for Corey Thompson to give his team the advantage.

But the Knights pulled one back with Fitzgibbon's cutout for Sio, before finding a way to cross the line late and take another step in their improved season.