Wests Tigers recorded a hard fought 38-24 victory over Illawarra Cutters at Leichhardt Oval tonight in the NSW Cup.
The match was the second game of a double header of a catch up round after the recent City-Country rep round weekend was washed out.
It was Wests Tigers second game in four days following their win over North Sydney last Sunday. Wests Tigers will back up again this Sunday for their third match in a week when they take on Newcastle away.
In a game Wests Tigers were always in control of, they certainly made life hard for themselves early in the second half before pulling away late, giving Coach Paul Fletcher a few extra grey hairs.
Wests Tigers got off to a dream start from the kick-off when the Cutters allowed the ball to be touched and go over the sideline for a scrum feed to the home side.
A few tackles into the first set, the ball was spread left through half-back Jacob Miller and full-back Sean Meaney for centre Josh Davis to score in the corner. Miller failed to convert from the sideline for a 4-0 lead.
Three minutes later, Wests Tigers were in for their second try when Miller threw a long cut out pass for winger Taqele Naiyaravoro to use his size and strength to crash over in the left corner. Miller converted for a 10-0 lead.
Illawarra opened their account when winger Jack Twist scored in the corner. The try was not converted by half-back Josh Drinkwater to leave the Cutters trailing 10-4 after 11 minutes.
Wests Tigers defence was strong early in the first half, holding up two Illawarra players over the tryline after a sustained period of attack inside their quarter.
The good work paid off when young forward Inno Inosesio crossed for a try near the posts in the 35th minute. Miller converted for a 16-4 lead.
Naiyaravoro grabbed his second try in the 38th minute on the back of an Illawarra mistake. Miller converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 22-4 lead at half-time.
Illawarra got back to 22-8 when Twist scored his second try after a bomb was allowed to bounce. The try was converted to leave the Cutters trailing 22-10 after 52 minutes.
The Cutters were in again a few minutes later when a grubber kick in-goal was spilt by Wests Tigers for centre Junior Vaivai to score out wide. The conversion attempt fell short of the posts to leave Illawarra trailing 22-14 after 57 minutes.
A superb 70 metre solo try by talented outside back Jy Hitchcox saw him beat three defenders to slide in under the posts. Miller converted to give Wests Tigers a 28-14 lead after 60 minutes.
Illawarra hit back two minutes later when a crossfield kick by Drinkwater saw centre Kose Lelei dive over in the corner. Drinkwater failed to convert the try to leave the Cutters trailing 28-18 after 63 minutes.
Naiyaravoro scored his third try of the game when the ball was spread left through Miller and Asipeli Fine for the giant winger to fall over the line in the 69th minute to give Wests Tigers a 32-18 lead. Miller failed to convert the try.
Wests Tigers lock Joel Luani was sent to the sin bin in the 74th minute following a fight. The Cutters capitalised on the extra man when full-back Tyron Cranston crossed over a minute later. Drinkwater converted the try for a 32-24 scoreline.
A big fend from prop Ava Seumanufagai saw dive over under the posts in the 78th minute. Miller converted for the 38-24 scoreline.
Wests Tigers team
1 Sean Meaney (c), 2 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 19 Josh Davis, 4 Rory Brien, 5 Asipeli Fine, 6 Jack Madden, 7 Jacob Miller, 8 Ava Seumanufagai, 9 Masada Iosefa, 10 Matt Groat, 11 Sitaleki Akauola, 12 Jarred Farlow, 13 Joel Luani; Interchange: 14 Michael Bullock, 15 Soni Passi, 16 David Harris, 17 Jy Hitchcox, 18 Inno Inosesio.
1 Tyron Cranston, 2 Kyle Martens, 3 Kose Lelei, 4 Junior Vaivai, 5 Jack Twist, 6 Todd Ryan, 7 Josh Drinkwater, 8 Jordan Hay, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Jarrad Hickey, 11 Leeson Ah Mau, 12 Atelea Vea, 13 Matt Handcock; interchange: 14 Jake Hawkins, 16 Evrett Vaurasi, 17 Shannon Wakeman, 18 Kem Seru.
In the earlier catch up game, Cronulla Sharks beat Manly 32-4.