NRL Match Report: Wests Tigers defeat Canberra 17-12

Wests Tigers tonight scored a thrilling 17-12 victory over the Canberra Raiders at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.


Trailing 6-4 at half time and losing hooker Masada Iosefa before the break, the Wests Tigers turned in a gutsy display to overcome a strong Raiders side in wet conditions.


Coming off a disappointing loss to Brisbane on Monday night, the Wests Tigers came out strong and tested the Raiders line on numerous occasions early on.


A perfectly weighted grubber from Benji Marshall had opposite number Terry Campese scrambling for the ball in-goal, with the Wests Tigers trapping him and forcing a repeat set in the early stages.


On the next set, Liam Fulton linked up with Sean Meaney in an impressive second man play as the fullback sent flying winger David Nofoaluma over in the corner. Marshall missed the kick, but the Wests Tigers had a 4-0 lead after 14 minutes.


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In the 19th minute, Marshall put over a cross-field kick for Nofoaluma who unfortunately couldnt handle the ball as a chance went begging.


Raiders hit back in the 27th minute with Reece Robinson busting out of three tackles before linking up with speedster Jack Wighton who drew in the defence and put Sandor Earl over in the right corner. Jarrod Croker put his side in the lead with a conversion from the sideline making it 6-4.


Masada Iosefa was helped from the field with a broken forearm in the 33rd minute, meaning Liam Fulton moved into the hooking role for the remainder of the match.


Chris Lawrence was placed on report for a high shot on Josh McCrone, giving the Raiders a full set inside the danger zone. A big set in defence held Canberra out though, forcing an error.


With under two minutes remaining in the half, Sean Meaney made the simplest of errors on a kick return as he fumbled trying to pick up the ball, giving the Raiders another chance to extend their lead.


It wasnt to be though as the Raiders grubbered a ball over the sideline on the first tackle, leaving the scores at 6-4 going into the break.


Just three minutes into the second stanza, the Raiders had another chance but winger Sami Saulima was ruled to be held up over the line by some desperate Wests Tigers defence.


As the rain started to get heavier, the Wests Tigers received a relieving penalty 35 metres out. Marshall opted to take the two points and made no mistake evening it up at 6-all after 48 minutes.


A big tackle from Curtis Sironen took Reece Robinson over the touchline easing the pressure in the 52nd minute as the Raiders looked dangerous.


Not long after that a dubious call had the Raiders back in front with Robinson ruled not to be tackled by Blake Ayshford, as the fullback got up and sent Anthony Milford over under the posts for a 12-6 lead after 58 minutes.


Both side tussled it out before a magic short ball from Sironen hit Joel Reddy perfectly on the 30-metre line, as the experienced back found his way to the line in the 66th minute. Marshall landed the goal from the sideline to even it back up at 12-all.


With eight minutes remaining, Marshall set up for a field goal 15 metres out from the Raiders line, hitting it perfectly for a 13-12 lead in the dying stages.


With the game still in the balance, Tim Simona became the hero for the second time in three weeks, collecting a loose ball from a wayward grubber and spinning out of a tackle to slam it down in the corner. Marshall missed the goal, but the Wests Tigers held a 17-12 lead with three minutes to go.


Back-to-back penalties had the Raiders deep on the attack in the final minute, however a Campese chip kick went straight into the arms of Sean Meaney to wrap up the game, 17-12.


Both sides were playing for the League Legends Trophy, a tradition which celebrates the 1989 Grand Final with Paul Sironen presenting Mick Potter and Benji Marshall with the Cup following the win.


Wests Tigers 17 (Nofoaluma, Reddy, Simona tries; Marshall 2 from 4 conversions, 1 field goal) defeated Canberra 12 (Earl, Milford tries; Croker 2 conversions)