Wests Tigers’ NYC team have defended gallantly to emerge with a shock 22-18 victory over the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium in their Round 9 clash.
Despite missing inspirational playmaker Mitchell Moses due to suspension and losing fullback Sione Alofi just before half-time, the visitors were able to use their brilliant goal-line defence to hold on to their lead throughout the second half.
After an early error from the home team gifted them strong field position, it was Wests Tigers who crossed for the first points of the match through captain Nathan Milone, although it wasn’t without a touch of luck.
Roosters fullback Nene MacDonald appeared to have Alofi’s grubber under control at the back, but he proceed to spill the ball right on the goal-line — gifting Milone the first chance at points for the match.
Matthew Woods couldn’t nail the conversion from close to the left sideline, leaving the visitors with a 4-0 lead after just five minutes.
The home side continued to threaten Wests Tigers’ line soon after, and eventually crossed in the 15th minute through second-rower Vincent Leuluai when he beat two defenders to score out on the left wing.
Brendan Elliot nailed the conversion to give the hosts a 6-4 lead.
Sydney Roosters appeared destined to extend their lead even further as the first half wore on but could not find the final pass to break open the Wests Tigers’ line.
Their waywardness in attack was made to pay soon after, when Alofi released Watson Heleta on the right hand side of the field, with the centre pushing away from three defenders to race away and score.
Woods added the extras from the sideline to give the visitors somewhat of a shock 10-6 lead with nine minutes remaining in the half.
Wests Tigers would cross for another crucial four-pointer before half-time as Alofi’s cut-out pass found John Tohi unmarked on the wing.
With the radar working, Woods added the extras to give the visitors a 16-6 lead at the main break over their highly fancied opponents.
The positive scoreline was soon dampened by the negative news that Alofi would not return for the second half after sustaining a nasty lower leg injury.
After a stack of goal-line defence to open the half, it was the Roosters who crossed first after the break through Jack Goodsell, after a sweeping left-to-right move.
Milne couldn’t add the extras, though, and the score remained 16-10.
A sharp linebreak from Milone gave Wests Tigers great position to hit back soon after, and they did so through Heleta in the right corner.
Woods added the extras in the 54th minute to push the lead out to 12 points.
An athletic try to Goodsell in the right corner saw the Roosters again reduce the margin in the 69th minute, but Milne’s missed conversion saw the lead remain at a difficult eight points with just 10 minutes to go in the match.
Tyler Cornish crossed for a consolation try in the 78th minute, but after Milne's conversion was sent wide, it was all in vain. Wests Tigers hung on for a crucial four-point win to end their previous two-game losing streak and give them some much-needed confidence.
Final: Wests Tigers 22 def. Sydney Roosters 18