Knights unbeaten, big NRL win over Tigers

Pamela Whaley
Newcastle have scored eight tries in a 42-24 NRL thumping of the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt

Newcastle remain undefeated through the first two rounds of the NRL after a try-scoring blitz against the Wests Tigers.

In perfect rugby league conditions on Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval, the Knights ran in eight tries while leaking four to get the 42-24 win.

And while the defensive performance was a far cry from their round-one shutout of the Warriors, the Knights pulled apart the Tigers' line too easily.

Several times in the second half, the Knights exposed the Tigers' right-edge pairing of Joey Leilua and David Nofoaluma, with Kalyn Ponga, Mitchell Pearce, Edrick Lee and Enari Tuala scoring out wide.

And while the hosts managed two tries to Josh Reynolds and Luciano Leilua in the second half, the Knights, led by the boot of Pearce, remained in control.

"It wasn't the complete performance that we had last week, there were some moments that I was really happy with our resilience on the tryline, but we had a couple of moments there where guys took the foot off the throat a little bit," coach Adam O'Brien said.

"Any time you get 24 points put against you ... I know there was an intercept and an error in the red zone that gifted them 12 points, but they're a dangerous footy team.

"They'll hurt you, and we spoke about that all week. If we take a breath in defence we'll get caught and I thought we got caught just before halftime."

The Knights started fast with two quick tries to Tuala and Mitch Barnett, both off kicks from star halfback Pearce.

Barnett was awarded a penalty try when he was dragged off the ball in-goal by Tigers half Josh Reynolds and the Knights went up 10-0 after 10 minutes.

Five minutes later, the Knights were on the attack again when Ponga threw a pass to the left edge, and it was intercepted by Nofoaluma who raced 85 metres to score for Wests.

The Knights hit back with another try for Kurt Mann midway through the first half to extend their lead.

However, a slick offload from Reynolds on the Knights' line put Corey Thompson over to score, narrowing the difference to six at the break.

The game opened up in the second half as both teams traded tries, to the delight of a handful of vocal Tigers fans who had gathered over the fence.

The Tigers copped a further blow in the second half when replacement forward Thomas Mikaele suffered a suspected medial ligament injury, while the Knights also lost Barnett with a shoulder problem, although it was not believed to be serious.

Luciano Leilua might also face heat from the match-review committee for a late shot on Ponga in the dying minutes of the game.

The Tigers are scheduled to face Canterbury next week at Campbelltown, while the Knights are due to play Cronulla at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.