Match Report: NRL Round 4
The Wests Tigers have been defeated 42-18 in Round 4 of the NRL by the New Zealand Warriors in front of a strong crowd at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
Tries to Anasta and Richards had given the hosts an early lead, but four tries to Warriors winger Glen Fisiiahi, a horrible run of injuries and a number of controversial refereeing decisions gave the hosts the two points in the end.
Braith Anasta almost crossed for the hosts in the opening minutes of the game after Manu Vatuvei let a Luke Brooks kick run long, but the video referee ruled that the five-eighth had knocked the ball on in the in-goal as he dived on the ball.
The visitors were again in the video referee’s box when David Nofoaluma appeared to cross in the fourth minute but again, the result was not forthcoming.
Nofoaluma had been adjudged to have lost the ball close to the line — giving the Warriors a chance to work it from their own end.
A crazy start was made even more incredible in in the sixth minute when again the video referee was needed after Jason Bukaya appeared to score.
Unfortunately for the hosts, though, it was ruled a knock-on, and the score somehow still read 0-0 after seven minutes of play.
Anasta got the visitors on the board first when he dummied and spun his way through the Warriors’ defence to plant the ball down.
Richards converted to push the lead to 6-0.
After escaping with no try the first they opted to let the ball run dead, the Warriors weren’t so lucky when Sam Tomkins let a Brooks grubber run. Tedesco flew through to grab his fourth try in as many matches and push the lead to 10-0.
Richards’ simple conversion made it 12-0 after 20 minutes.
A sickening head knock to Tedesco in the 29th minute saw the fullback taken off the field with concussion — an injury that had damaging affects for the visitors.
Richards was forced to move to fullback and Lawrence to the wing, which was a move that the Warriors soon began to exploit before half-time.
A sharp left-to-right move saw Fisiiahi grab two tries before half-time to reduce the gap to 12-8, which is the way that the score would seemingly read at the main interval until the most unlikely of tries gave the hosts the lead.
A frantic play finished with Robbie Farah fumbling the ball in the corner, and after some contention about Vatuvei appearing offside, the try was eventually awarded to Johnson, who slotted the conversion from the sideline — rubbing salt into the wounds.
That gave the hosts an improbable 14-12 lead at the break.
A similar start occurred in the second half when a fumble in the in-goal saw Fisiiahi grab his third try of the day in acrobatic fashion.
Johnson duly converted to stretch their lead to 20-12.
A cross-field kick in the 46th minute appeared to be knocked on by Vatuvei before he planted it down but the video referee saw it differently — awarding a try to stretch the hosts’ lead to 26-12 after Johnson converted from under the posts.
Robbie Farah crossed for the visitors in the 58th minute after burrowing over close to the line following a great offload from Adam Blair, reducing the gap to just eight points but it would be as close as the visitors would get for the rest of the match.
The Warriors crossed again in the 69th minute through Jason Bukaya and Sam Tomkins in the 73rd minute to stretch the lead to 36-18 late in tge game.
Injuries were taking their toll on the visitors, who had lost Tedesco, Cory Paterson, Sauaso Sue and Adam Blair —all to game-ending injuries — and that saw the Warriors cross for one more try before the full-time whistle with players playing out of position.
Konrad Hurrell burst through on the right before offloading to Fisiiahi close to the line, who grabbed his fourth try of the afternoon on the right wing.
Johnson converted to take the full time score to 42-18 at Westpac Stadium.