Wests Tigers recorded one of their most courageous wins in the clubs history to beat Penrith Panthers 20-18 at Centrebet Stadium today in round 13 of the Telstra Premiership.
In front of a crowd of 16, 287 and with a dozen established first graders sidelined through injury, Wests Tigers overcame a 10-point deficit at half-time and the loss of winger Marika Koroibete to record a gutsy victory.
A weight of possession in the opening five minutes saw winger David Simmons catch ball to plant it down on the line for a 4-0 lead after centre Dean Whare offloaded a one handed pass in a three man tackle before going over the sideline. Half-back Luke Walsh converted for a 6-0 lead after seven minutes.
Wests Tigers opened their account in the 13th minute when winger David Nofoaluma darted out from dummy half to use his strength to score in the corner from close range for a 6-4 scoreline. Five-eighth Benji Marshall failed to convert the try from the sideline.
Penrith went to a 10-4 lead when prop Mose Masoe brushed through the tackle of Adam Blair to then beat two defenders to score in a 20 metre run. Walsh converted from close range for a 12-4 lead after 19 minutes.
Wests Tigers lost winger Marika Koroibete with a dislocated elbow in the 27th minute and didnt return to the field.
Penrith went to a 16-4 lead when Simmons outleaped centre turn winger Tim Simona and knocked the ball back into the arms of Whare to score. Walsh converted the try for an 18-4 lead after 35 minutes.
Nofoaluma grabbed his second try in the 38th minute when he caught a high pass before diving over for a one handed try for an 18-8 scoreline. Marshalls attempt from the sideline hit the upright. The score remained 18-8 at half-time.
Wests Tigers got back to 18-12 in the 53rd minute when big forward Ava Seumanufagai pounced on a grubber kick infield from Simona to score his first NRL try. Marshall converted for an 18-14 scoreline.
Half-back Curtis Sironen was denied a try in the 58th minute when it was ruled James Segeyaro managed to hold him up over the line after defusing a towering bomb from Marshall.
Segeyaro was placed on report in the 62nd minute for a high tackle on Marshall.
Wests Tigers got back to 18-all when Simona scored one of the best individual tries this season. After receiving the ball from a tap from Joel Reddy, Simona fended off Walsh and Simmons (twice) before racing down the left flank to then turn full-back Wes Naigama inside and out as he raced away to score behind the posts. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 20-18 lead after 69 minutes.
Meanwhile, Wests Tigers lost 26-24 in the dying stages to Wentworthville Magpies at Ringrose Park this afternoon after the home side kicked a penalty goal to win.