NRL: Wests Tigers beat Eels 31-18 in front of Leichhardt Oval faithful

Wests Tigers recorded an impressive 31-18 victory over Parramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval tonight in round three of the Telstra Premiership.


In front of a packed crowd of 18, 326 at the historic ground, Wests Tigers dominated the ruck early with props Aaron Woods and Jack Buchanan laying the foundations for the win.


The match marked the first grade debut of giant forward Ava Seumanufagai. It was also a perfect way for Wests Tigers Captain and hooker Robbie Farah to celebrate his new four year deal with the Club with a man-of-the match performance.


Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 4th minute when five-eighth Benji Marshall delivered a well time short pass for centre Chris Lawrence to score out wide to get the packed crowd on their feet. Marshall converted the try for a 6-0 lead.


The Tigers, Tigers chant went up in the 7th minute when prop Jack Buchanan forced a mistake from the Eels to give the home side a scrum feed 10 metres out from the tryline. Parramatta were let off the hook on the third tackle when winger Joel Reddy was taken over the sideline.


Eels prop Mitchell Allgood lost control of the ball in trying to score in the 11th minute.


Marshall converted a penalty goal in the 18th minute for an 8-0 lead after the Eels were penalised for a lifting tackle on half-back Jacob Miller.


Wests Tigers went to a 12-0 in the 20th minute when captain and hooker Robbie Farah ran from dummy half before offloading a good short ball to send Lawrence over for his second try. Marshall converted the try for a 14-0 lead after 22 minutes.


Big forward Ava Seumanufagai came on for his NRL debut in the 25th minute with prop Aaron Woods taking a well earned rest.


Wests Tigers centre Blake Ayshford darted out from dummy half and backed himself to crash through two defenders to score out wide in the 31st minute for an 18-0 lead. Marshall failed to convert the try.


A desperate chase and tackle over the top by Farah saw Parramatta centre Jacob Loko spill the ball just short of the line after the Eels made a long break down the left flank in the 38th minute.


Wests Tigers got possession back to take an 18-0 lead into half-time and receive a standing ovation from the Leichhardt faithful.


2nd Half

Parramatta got back to 18-4 in the 43rd minute when centre Ryan Morgan crashed over out wide. Half-back Chris Sandow converted the try for an 18-6 scoreline.


The Eels looked destined to score a minute later when Sandow sliced through out wide to find open space before putting a grubber kick through only for Wests Tigers winger Marika Koroibete to force the ball dead.


A minute later, the Eels were penalised for holding full-back Tim Moltzen down for too long in a tackle. Marshall noticed Parramatta had their backs turned and took a quick tap to race 70 metres untouched through the middle to score under the posts. He converted his own try for a 24-6 lead after 49 minutes.


Video referees Steve Clark and Luke Patten were called on in the 51st minute to rule whether Moltzen had grounded the ball cleanly with two hands after the ball was knocked back in the ingoal area by winger Vai Toutai from a Marshall grubber kick. The try was awarded and sent the Wests Tigers crowd into a frenzy. Marshall converted the try for a 30-6 lead after 52 minutes.


The video referee awarded a try in the 67th minute to Toutai after he rolled over to score in the left corner in a tackle made by second-rower Liam Fulton. Sandow converted the try for a 30-12 scoreline.


Parramatta were in again two minutes later when the Eels found some open space for full-back Jarryd Hayne to deliver a pass for Loko to score out wide. Sandow converted the try for a 30-18 scoreline after 71 minutes.


Miller made the Wests Tigers comfortable when he landed a field goal in the 74th minute for a 31-18 scoreline.


The only injury concern for Wests Tigers was a sprained foot to Koroibete. Wests Tigers play Manly at Bluetongue Stadium next Thursday night.