Clean bill of health in trial loss
Friday 8 February 2013 9:26 PM
Wests Tigers full-back James Tedesco has come through his first game back from a knee injury unscathed in the 34-32 trial loss to Penrith Panthers in Bathurst tonight.
Tedesco played a solid 40 minutes at Carrington Park before being replaced at half-time. It was his first game since suffering a season ending knee injury in his NRL debut in round one last season.
Second-rowers Bodene Thompson (shoulder) and Shaun Spence (knee) also pulled up well from their first game back from injuries suffered last season.Apart from the odd cork, Wests Tigers have no major injuries.
The match was played in 4 x 20 minute quarters in humid conditions in front of several thousand fans. Penrith fielded a side featuring NRL players Lachlan Coote, Geoff Daniela, Jeremy Latimore, Dayne Weston and Clint Newton.
Best players for Wests Tigers were Joel Luani, Jack Buchanan, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Rory Brien and Luke Brooks.
Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 15th minute when hooker Joel Luani gave an inside ball for centre Rory Brien to score near the posts. Five-eighth Sean Meaney failed to convert the try for a 4-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Second-rower Taqele Naiyaravoro proved hard to stop in the opening 20 minutes while full-back James Tedesco and second-rowers Bodene Thompson and Shaun Spence were solid in their return from injury.
Penrith drew level early in the second quarter when an offload by prop Clint Newtown saw a break down the right flank for winger Etonia Nabuli to score. Half Blake Austin converted the try for a 6-4 lead.
The Panthers increased their lead when centre Geoff Daniela scored from a cut out pass for a 10-4 lead. Austin missed the kick from out wide.
The lead was increased to 14-4 when Austin dummied and stepped his way through Thompson to score near the posts. Austin converted the try for a 16-4 lead midway through the second quarter.
Tedesco was replaced for the rest of the game after a solid 40 minutes where he made some nice runs.
A break from dummy half by Luani saw him offload to Naiyaravoro who just brushed off full-back Kane Morgan to score in the corner. Meaney converted the try from the sideline for a 16-10 scoreline.
The sharp kicking game of half-back Luke Brooks continued in the third quarter with his grubber kicks on the last tackle getting numerous repeat sets in the match.
Penrith regained the lead when centre James Robert had too much pace to get on the outside of Josh Davis to find open space down the right flank to send full-back Lachlan Coote over behind the posts. Austin converted for a 22-16 lead.
Wests Tigers got back to 22-20 early in the final quarter when Brooks put on a crossfield kick for Brien to leap to take the ball to score his second try of the night. Meaney failed to convert the try from near the posts.
Penrith regained the lead when a desperate pass by Jy Hitchcox 10 metres out from the Panthers tryline went to ground. Winger Travis Robinson kicked the ball three times along the ground before regathering to score a long field try for a 26-20 lead. Austin converted for a 28-20 lead.
Wests Tigers prop Mosese Fotuaika used his sheer strength to barge over next to the posts.Meaney converted to leave Wests Tigers trailing 28-26 with 5 minutes remaining.
Naiyaravoro grabbed his second try when he charged from over close range from a Luani pass to give Wests Tigers a 30-28 lead. Meaney converted the try from the sideline for a 32-28 scoreline with less than a minute remaining.
A short kick off from Penrith saw them regain the ball. Two tackles later, Roberts stepped his way through the defence to score for a 32-32 scoreline with 20 seconds left. Austin converted the try from close range after the siren for a 34-32 victory.
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