Wests Tigers have won their second NYC game in as many weeks — knocking off the previously undefeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 26-16 at ANZ Stadium.
Halfback Mitchell Moses was the star of the show — setting up three tries and scoring one himself — but it was a strong performance across the board that will have pleased Head Coach Andrew Webster the most.
Wests Tigers got off to a dream start when a Souths error in the opening set gifted them great field position. And after Moses worked his magic in the middle of the field to create an overlap, winger Tom Satterthwaite crossed in the corner to put the hosts in the lead after just one minute.
Moses converted from the sideline to extend the lead to 6-0.
However, the visitors would level the score not long after that when Cheyne Whitelaw crashed over next to the posts. Five-eighth Irae Simone made no mistake with the conversion to lock the game up at 6-6.
After some strong defending from the Wests Tigers and several errors in the middle of the field, Souths took the lead in the 20th minute when Simone acrobatically planted the ball down in the in-goal following a grubber. He duly added the extras from the under the posts to give Souths a 12-6 lead.
Moses continued to cause havoc for Souths when a spiraling bomb won them a repeat set close to the line. The halfback worked the ball right with Marion Seve in the ensuing set and after a bullying run from the 2013 Australian Schoolboys star, the Wests Tigers had crossed in the corner.
Moses was unsuccessful in his conversion from the sideline, leaving the score at 12-10 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
That combination proved fruitful again just moments later, when Seve crossed for his second try of the afternoon. Moses’ short ball close to the line was thrown perfectly to give the centre a much easier finish than his first try.
After converting from close to the right wing, Moses had restored the lead to 16-12.
Souths threatened to hit back just before half-time but some strong goal-line defense saw the boys hold on to their lead into the main break.
An injury to Andrew Kazzi after the break disrupted proceedings when he was forced to be stretchered off the field, and the delay might have been a distraction to the Wests Tigers’ defensive line. Simone scooted through for his second try of the afternoon close to the left wing to lock the scores up at 16-16.
His conversion from the sideline, however, was unsuccessful, and left the scores tied with just over 30 minutes to play in the match.
An injury to Souths’ hooker Aaron Booth saw the game stopped again in the 52nd minute, and once again, points followed for the opposing team.
A break from Te Maire Martin, Manaia Cherrington crashed for his first try of the season to restore the lead once more. Moses missed the conversion, leaving the score at 20-16.
The halfback was at it again in the following set, and after an early linebreak from dummy half, was backing up on the inside to run the length of the field and score under the posts. He made no mistake with the conversion to extend the lead to 10 points with just under 20 minutes remaining in the match.
Both teams had numerous chances to cross for points in the final stanza for the match but were unable to cross the line. That saw the hosts emerge with a 10-point victory and back-to-back victories following their big win last week.