The Knights got right into the spirit of Magic Round last night in Brisbane.
Before their very eyes, they made their ball control and discipline disappear. And with it, another big chunk of credibility vanished as well.
You can do little else but shake your head at the ineptness of the performance.
This side was coming off what should have been a morale-boosting come-from-behind win over the Canberra Raiders. Even without the injured Kalyn Ponga, they should have gone to Brisbane with a spring in their step after their Wagga win.
They weren't taking on a Penrith or a Melbourne or a Parramatta even. They were up against a Wests Tigers side who had only won two games all season and whose lack of consistency even bettered that of the Knights.
But forget all that. As they have done all season in just about every game, the Knights got off to plodding start after a couple of reasonable sets to start the game and before the Tigers even broke a sweat, they were up 18-0 inside 17 minutes.
Unforgivably, the Knights conceded an 80 metre try to Luke Brooks through the centre of their ruck in the opening five minutes. 6-0.
The rot set in from there. Kurt Mann, who had a game he will want to forget, dropped the ball cold inside his own half just after his side was awarded a six again. That was nine minutes in. Two minutes later, he compounded the schoolboy error when he collided with Tex Hoy as they both tried to defuse a grubber near their own try-line to gift Tigers prop James Tamou a try. 12-0.
Then, just to dig the hole even deeper, the Knights were unable to defend a bomb near their own line and David Nofoaluma scrambled over in the corner for the Tigers. 18-0.
By that stage, the Tigers were enjoying 70 percent of the footy and were already cutting holes through a staggered Knights defensive line.
During the week, one of coach Adam O'Brien's big criticisms of their performance against the Raiders was their defensive contact. He hated that his side had so easily allowed Raiders players to off-load in tackles.
His players had six days to get the message and fix it. They failed. But if the Knights defence wasn't up to scratch at crucial times last night, their attention to detail when they had the footy was the real killer.
Their attention to detail when they had the footy was the real killer.
Incredibly given the scoreline, they finished the game with more line breaks and more tackle breaks than the Tigers despite having just 45 percent of the footy.
It was the 13 errors and 10 penalties given away, including a contentious sin binning to Tex Hoy in the first half, that destroyed any chance of the Knights mounting another recovery.
The Hoy sin bin and then a subsequent try to Tigers centre Adam Doueihi soon after the Knights found themselves a man short came off the back of a Tyson Frizell error in his own half as he tried to play the ball.
By halftime. it was 24-4 and the mountain looked insurmountable the way the Knights were playing.
A Brodie Jones try inside two minutes in the second half provided a small glimmer of hope but when Lachlan Fitzgibbon gave away an obstruction penalty soon after, his second of the game, the momentum was lost.
Connor Watson, who provided a spark when out there, was also guilty of losing the ball near his own line and giving away a poor discipline penalty when he was caught red-handed giving a Tigers player a facial. Two further tries in as many minutes to the Tigers followed and the final 15 minutes meant very little in the end.
To make matters worse for the Knights, they have lost winger Hymel Hunt, who brilliantly finished a first half try in the corner, to a recurrence of a hamstring injury while Mitch Barnett, who was the Knights best in his 100th NRL game, was placed on report for two separate incidents.
The second was late in the game for alleged use of knees in a tackle.
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