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The Wests Tigers NSW Cup side suffered a heart-breaking 30-26 loss to rivals Newtown Jets today after leading for the majority of the match at Leichhardt Oval.

Luke Brooks and Taqele Naiyaravoro were again impressive for Paul Fletchers side, with the loss drawing similarities to last years decider between Balmain and Newtown where the Jets triumphed 22-18.

Newtown got off to a flying start, receiving a penalty from their first set. The Jets capitalised on this early opportunity with winger Paul Rokolati pouncing on a grubber near the sticks. He converted his own try to give his side a 6-0 lead after just four minutes.

Wests Tigers hit straight back with a slick backline move being finished nicely by a flying Taqele Naiyaravoro. It was the wingers twelfth try of the season. Sean Meaney missed the goal and the score remained 6-4 in favour of the Jets after 11 minutes.

Newtown practically gave away their lead just moments later, fumbling twice in-goal before young halfback Luke Brooks dived on the ball to score his first NSW Cup try. Meaney made no mistake with the goal to put the Wests Tigers ahead 10-6 after 18 minutes.

Wests Tigers hooker Masada Iosefa decided to test the line, going from dummy-half 15 metres out and grubbering for himself. He received a favourable bounce to go over under the posts. Meaney extended the lead to 16-6 after 30 minutes.

It looked as if the score would remain unchanged going into the break until Naiyaravoro got the ball inside the Wests Tigers in-goal. The winger beat three defenders in a 50 metre run before linking up with Brooks who showed great pace to finish the amazing try. Meaney missed the goal, but his side went into the break with a commanding 20-6 lead.

Newtown came out firing in the second half, with a good kick-chase putting pressure on Meaney who spilled the ball 20 metres out from his line. Jarrod Farlow saved what looked to be a certain try with a great tackle; but the Jets got over the line the very next play. Saulala Houma grabbed the points with Rokolati adding the extras with the lead narrowed to 20-12 after 43 minutes.

However it wasnt long before the Wests Tigers hit back, with Brooks giving a great second-man ball to Meaney who reached out to score. The Captain added the extras to extend his sides lead to 26-12 after 48 minutes.

Back-to-back penalties had the Wests Tigers on the back penalties had the Wests Tigers on the back foot and the Jets took full advantage. Interchange player Houma crashed over in the corner for his second try. Rokolati converted from the sideline and the lead closed even further to 26-18 after 58 minutes.

Brooks kept up his impressive form with a great kick downfield that had Usaia OSullivan desperately chasing the ball to stop what looked to be a 40/20. However the winger knocked the ball over the sideline, giving the Wests Tigers a great opportunity. Newtown held the home side out though, with Naiyaravoro knocking-on moments later.

Newtown were back down the other end in no time, with lock-forward Isaac Liu hitting a gap on the 30 metre line at speed and scoring an impressive try. Rokolati missed the simple conversion and the Wests Tigers lead was cut to just 26-22 with nine minutes remaining.

The Jets were no doubt on a roll; centre Michael Oldfield sliced through soon after, stepping Meaney who was unable to stop him from scoring under the posts. Rokolati converted the try and the Jets hit the lead, 28-26 with just five minutes on the clock.

Desperation set in for the Wests Tigers, with Brooks sending Sitaleki Akauolo though a gap on the halfway-mark. However it was to no avail, with the second rower being pulled down just five metres short of the line. Five-eighth Jack Madden then put in a grubber that trickled over the dead ball line with just three minutes to play.

The Jets sealed the come from behind victory in the dying stages with a penalty goal to Rokolati. The Wests Tigers suffered a heart-breaking 30-26 loss after leading 26-12 in the second half.

The side will look to turn it around next Saturday when they take on Wyong at Campbelltown Stadium, kick-off at 3pm.
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Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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