The Knights have produced one of the gutsiest wins in their history against a woeful Tigers side after they lost four players to injury and one to a send-off to win 14-12 with 12 men at Leichhardt Oval.
Kalyn Ponga was knocked out after a head clash in the second minute of the game and Jayden The Knights were reduced to 12 men after Jacob Saifiti was sent off with 15 to play and they only had one on their bench after HIA’s to Kalyn Ponga and Jayden Brailey and injuries to Tyson Frizell and Jack Johns.
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Kalyn Ponga was knocked out in the second minute of the game in a huge blow for the Knights.
“That is lights out for Ponga,” Andrew Voss said.
“Kalyn Ponga has been ruled out of this game with a category one head knock,” Jake Duke confirmed.
NRL physio raised fears for Ponga’s immediate future after his fourth concussion in 10 months.
Dane Gagai set up Dominic Young for the first try of the afternoon to give the Knights an early lead.
Tyson Gamble produced a brilliant pass to put Lachlan Fitzgibbon over to extend the Knights lead.
Knights hooker Jayden Brailey was ruled out for the game after failing his HIA, with Newcastle activating 18th man Brodie Jones.
Dominic Young was sent to the sin bin for taking out Brent Naden in a blatant professional foul.
“There have been some bad captain’s challenges, but that takes the cake,” Cooper Cronk said.
“That was a blatant professional foul.”
Asu Kepaoa pounced on a loose ball after Jackson Hastings collected Tommy Talau across the head to score the Tigers’ first try.
Hastings was placed on report for a high tackle, which sparked a scuffle.
Tyson Frizell suffered a leg injury as the Knights were reduced to just two players on their bench, despite activating their 18th man.
“It has been carnage,” Ennis said.
Gagai put Young over for his double to give the gutsy Knights a commanding lead.
Jacob Saifiti produced a sickening coathanger tackle on Jake Simpkin and he was sent off reducing the Knights to 12 players for the final 15 minutes.
The Tigers scored a contentious try to Stefano Utoikamanu in the 80th minute but it was too little too late.
Luke Brooks had one last chance to kick a two-point field goal as time expired, but the Knights held on for a famous win.
Both the Knights and the Tigers will be hungry to quickly redeem themselves after disappointing round one losses.
For the Tigers Shawn Blore(concussion protocols) is out with Asu Kepaoa taking his place in the back row. Brandon Tumeth, 19, will make his NRL debut on the bench.
For the Knights Kurt Mannis out with Jack Johns switching to lock and Tyson Gamble joining the bench.
Leo Thompson starts at prop with Jacob Saifiti switching to the bench.
The Tigers opened their season with a 22-10 defeat at the hand of the Titans, with poor handling proving costly for Tim Sheens’ men.
The Knights travelled across the Tasman last week to take on the Warriors and whilst the home side were able the celebrate a win in the first NRL game in New Zealand since 2019, the Knights headed back to Australia 0-1 after a 20-12 loss.
The Tigers are back at Leichardt for the second weekend in a row where they will play the second of three games this season.
However, they will be hoping to improve their recent record there, having only won two of their past eight.
New recruit Api Koroisau is in line to start at hooker after coming off the bench in his Tigers debut last week.
Sheens said that 19-year-old Brandon Tumeth will make his debut against the Knights, replacing back-rower Shawn Blore (concussion) on the bench.
The status of UK recruit John Bateman is still in the air.
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The Knights will get a big boost with the return of representative centre Dane Gagai, who has been out with a hamstring injury and Jack Johns will come into the side for the injured Adam Elliott (groin).
Knights co-captain Kalyn Ponga, who was in the middle of a controversial HIA ruling at a crucial stage of the Warriors clash, will take his place.
Originally published as Knights pull off miracle win despite sickening send off hit