Kalyn Ponga returned to his points-scoring best with a dominant hand in the Knights’ 44-4 victory over the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
After losing to the Eels and then Bulldogs at home the Knights gave the Hunter faithful something to cheer about. Some of that encouragement was loudest whenever Ponga touched the ball.
A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the church or the country, especially in a military capacity.The background of knighthood can be traced back to the Greek hippeis (ἱππεῖς) and Roman eques of classical antiquity.In the Early Middle Ages in Europe, knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings. The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on horseback. Knighthood in the Middle Ages was closely linked with horsemanship (and especially the joust) from its origins in the 12th century until its final flowering as a fashion among the high nobility in the Duchy of Burgundy in the 15th century. This linkage is reflected in the etymology of chivalry, cavalier and related terms. In that sense, the special prestige accorded to mounted warriors in Christendom finds a parallel in the furusiyya in the Islamic world.
In the Late Middle Ages, new methods of warfare began to render classical knights in armour obsolete, but the titles remained in many countries. The ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, particularly the literary cycles known as the Matter of France, relating to the legendary companions of Charlemagne and his men-at-arms, the paladins, and the Matter of Britain, relating to the legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.
Today, a number of orders of knighthood continue to exist in Christian Churches, as well as in several historically Christian countries and their former territories, such as the Roman Catholic Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Protestant Order of Saint John, as well as the English Order of the Garter, the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim, and the Order of St. Olav. Each of these orders has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is generally granted by a head of state, monarch, or prelate to selected persons to recognise some meritorious achievement, as in the British honours system, often for service to the Church or country. The modern female equivalent in the English language is Dame.
Ponga puts on a show as Knights thump Tigers
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest extant cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. It is most recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orange-brown fur with a lighter underside. It is an apex predator, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and wild boar. It is territorial and generally a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat, which support its requirements for prey and rearing of its offspring. Tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years, before they become independent and leave their mother’s home range to establish their own.
The tiger once ranged widely from the Eastern Anatolia Region in the west to the Amur River basin, and in the south from the foothills of the Himalayas to Bali in the Sunda islands. Since the early 20th century, tiger populations have lost at least 93% of their historic range and have been extirpated in Western and Central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and in large areas of Southeast and South Asia and China. Today’s tiger range is fragmented, stretching from Siberian temperate forests to subtropical and tropical forests on the Indian subcontinent and Sumatra.
The tiger is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 mature individuals, with most of the populations living in small pockets isolated from each other. India currently hosts the largest tiger population. Major reasons for population decline are habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. Tigers are also victims of human–wildlife conflict in particular in range countries with a high human population density.
The tiger is among the most recognisable and popular of the world’s charismatic megafauna. It featured prominently in ancient mythology and folklore and continues to be depicted in modern films and literature, appearing on many flags, coats of arms and as mascots for sporting teams. The tiger is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Korea.
His two tries, two try assists, and six goals were the backbone of his side’s tally.
But it was his exquisite entries into the attack – three line breaks and several crisp cut-out passes while running for over 240 metres – that revived memories of why Queensland coach Kevin Walters gave him an Origin jersey back in 2018.
Ponga puts on a show as Knights thump Tigers
The win moved the Knights deeper into the eight at sixth spot, and snapped a two-game losing streak. While Ponga is always a joy to watch, the jolting runs by David Klemmer, Jacob Saifiti, Mitch Barnett and Lachlan Fitzgibbon can’t be under-estimated in a win of this size.
As the clock ticked down the final few minutes, the small 2952 crowd sounded a lot bigger as they chanted the familiar “New-castle! New-castle!” in fine voice.
For Wests Tigers, they seem to have retreated into their den after the 48-0 thumping they gave the Broncos in round 10 with three straight losses since.
They remain two wins out of the eight but the 40-point loss is a big hit to their for-and-against, which comes to the fore at finals time.
In round two last March, the Knights spanked the Wests Tigers 42-24 at their beloved Leichhardt Oval. Any thoughts of revenge at McDonald Jones Stadium evaporated quickly among the eight-try haul by Adam O’Brien’s men.
By gaining Blake Green’s signature the Knights halves’ NRL experience has now rocketed to 462 games, with Green’s 173 and Pearce’s 289. Of course that was topped by a combined 500 games for the Wests Tigers with Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence celebrating 250 each.
However the match was only nine minutes old when Green announced his arrival at his seventh NRL club. After six try assists with the Warriors this year, he had his first for the Knights after sending an inside pass to Ponga.
Four minutes later and he sent a bomb skywards that eventually found its way into Barnett’s hands. He flicked a pass back as he was pulled to the ground, which led to Hymel Hunt scoring untouched.
A penalty by Ponga and it was 14-0. A couple more errors from the Wests Tigers, another try to the Knights through winger Starford To’a, and it was 18-0.
The Marshall-Lawrence celebration was not going well.
Finally, with five minutes left in the half, a bit of luck came the visitors’ way. A Marshall grubber ricocheted off a Knight’s player’s legs and into the path of Luciano Leilua to score.
But that spurt of fortune abandoned them, when the Bunker ruled Saifiti had scored after replays appeared to show he grounded the ball just short of the line and then advanced it.
Still, leading 24-4 at half-time, the result of that decision wasn’t going to sway the match. The Wests Tigers had made seven errors already and the Knights were completing at 91%. By full-time the visitors had bumped their error count up to 14 and missed 31 tackles.
After the break, things continued at a high octane pace for the Knights in the second half.
A flat pass from Pearce in the 43rd minute found Herman Ese’ese, who bumped off Marshall and Joey Leilua to score his team’s fifth try. The sixth came just minutes later, when Ponga scored his second.
Tries seven and eight then unfolded for Gehamat Shibasaki and Phoenix Crossland – his first in the NRL – to ensure a night not to remember for the Concord Oval-based club.
O’Brien said the addition of Green into the Knights spine at No.6 has lifted everyone.
“I thought Mitchell [Pearce] and Blake, Kalyn and Kurt [Mann] really laid a good platform. They looked really neat and tidy out there – Kalyn in particular I thought he was outstanding,” O’Brien sad.
“For their first game, they all complemented each other – all freed each other up.”
Pearce only had one session with Green, and only met him two days ago.
“What a super player Greenie is and what a great pick-up for us,” Pearce said. “In the short time I’ve met him you can tell what a good guy he is.
“I’ve heard such good raps on him from other players at other clubs and he is really calm, really smart.
“Obviously he takes pressure [off me] with kicking. Greenie is quite a dominant player so there’s some adjustments I can make to my game and hopefully I can assist him with his strengths as well.”